Thursday, May 21, 2009

Keeping Agriculture Alive in the Shadow of a Uranium Mine: Potential Effects and Regulatory Solutions for Virginia

ELPR {William & Mary: Environmental Law & Policy Review}

This is a preview of one of the upcoming Volume 34 notes

by Maggy J. Lewis

This Note deals with the emerging regulatory controversy over the potential mining of a uranium deposit located in rural Southern Virginia. The “Coles Hill” deposit is thought to be the largest deposit of uranium in the United States, but has been largely ignored since the Virginia General Assembly instituted a moratorium on uranium mining in the early 1980’s. The increase in the price of uranium in recent years has revived the debate on uranium mining. There is potential for the moratorium to be lifted in the near future and for uranium mining to be introduced to Virginia for the first time.


This Note addresses the potential implications for agricultural production if uranium mining becomes a reality for Virginia by looking at scientific and sociological data at other mine sites, as well as public perception of food safety threats. There are gaps to be filled in both regulation and enforcement mechanisms as they apply to uranium mining’s effects on agricultural crops and livestock. This Note provides suggestions for means of regulating the output of agricultural products from the potentially affected regions of Virginia under the current statutory framework for developing state and site-specific protocols to ensure safety and preserve the public confidence in the food supply. By taking the proactive regulatory approach proposed by this Note, agriculture can continue to be a successful economic base of the Southern Virginia both during the uranium mining process and after it has come to an end.

Read the complete abstract here:

Read more about the full Volume34 Note at the same site. It promises to be excellent.

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