Colonists

Things are a bit tense here these days, as the General Assembly is about to begin consideration of a bill that will authorize uranium mining and milling in our county.  The proposed site is less than ten miles from our farm.  A uranium extraction operation here would be devastating to our community.  On a personal level it would destroy the dream I’ve worked for for most of my adult life.  At a minimum I’d hoped to leave our children and grandchildren the land my family has worked and loved for a couple of hundred years at least as well as it was when the responsibility for it passed to me.  Now I can’t be sure what we’ll be able to leave them.

It is hard for me not to be angry about what is happening.  If our community was in favor of this, believing it would bring jobs and prosperity, I’d disagree, but I would understand how the legislature might pass the bill.  But our community and all of Southern Virginia is united in opposition to the bill.  All of our legislators (Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal) oppose lifting the ban, as does our Chamber of Commerce and nearly every civic group that I can think of.  That this could be forced on us by other parts of the state is both infuriating and insulting. 

One of the arguments opponents have been making is that removing the ban will subject other communities in the state, not just ours, to the perils of uranium mining.  So to eliminate that argument the drafter of the bill has now modified it to provide that it will lift the ban to permit uranium mining and milling in our county only.  In his words, “This isolates it to Coles Hill.”  When asked why he would limit it to only one place in the state he responded, “Because I want the bill to pass.”

We are in one of the poorest parts of Virginia.   We don’t have the money or political power of other parts of the state.

We are being treated like a mere economic colony of Northern Virginia and Richmond.

Hopefully the legislature will do the right thing.  I don’t like thinking about what will happen if they don’t.

Love Wins

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5 comments on “Colonists

  1. Fox says:

    It’s horrible that people who aren’t in a region of the state get to determine what happens in that region of the state. It’s not in their community, so they shouldn’t have say, but they do have a lot of say. They don’t care if it’s going to destroy some other community, but it’s not THEIR community.

    Perhaps you can reach out to people in other communities, see if you can show them what would be lost by this mining, and maybe remind them that the people of your community are people too. This is especially important if you are a poorer community as pushing everyone under may force everyone onto state aide that most states can’t afford right now. It might help you make a compelling argument.

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    • Bill says:

      You’re exactly right. As one of our state senators put it, it reminds him of what his father used to tell him: “When I want your opinion I’ll tell you what it is.

      We do have allies in other parts of the state, and we’re trying to recruit more. The bad guys in this have a lot of money and they’ve given a lot of it to politicians who now owe them. It’s really disgusting.

      Thanks for caring.

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      • Fox says:

        My daughter said if we lived in your state, she’d be happy to help you with your cause. I would too! We’ve both been very interested in following along with what you’ve been doing. You’ve inspired her to ask about having our own farm. We’ll be wishing you the best! Maybe we can spread the word and see if we can get some support for your cause. I don’t know how much we can do, but we’ll try!

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      • Bill says:

        A heartfelt thanks to you and your wonderful family. Your comments and others like it really do mean a lot to me. Thanks for caring! It is a great blessing to think I’ve helped inspire you daughter to consider farming. I sincerely believe our future depends upon nourishing and living in harmony with the land.

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  2. [...] “less than 10 miles” from the site of the proposed uranium mining operation, has penned this piece on the subject. “We are being treated like a mere economic colony of Northern Virginia [...]

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