Thursday, May 7, 2009

What's on the agenda for the Uranium Mining Subcommittee's May 21 meeting?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Chatham Star-Tribune

The Uranium Mining Subcommittee will meet in Richmond on May 21.

At the subcommittee's March 24 meeting, Dr. Michael Karmis of the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research recommended that the uranium study be separated into two studies: a "technical" study and a social-economic study. The subcommittee agreed to first consider the technical study.

The subcommittee approved the first draft of the technical study scope as working document only. Dr. Michael Karmis wrote the first draft. He asked the subcommittee to let him get initial feedback from the National Academy before the subcommittee discussed any changes to his draft.

Discussion was cut short with the understanding that the real debate would come when a second draft - the draft from the National Academy - is available.

The subcommittee and Virginia citizens now have a chance to see this latest - not necessarily final - draft. The document will be available any day now for public review on the Coal and Energy Commission Web site:

This is the National Academy's first comment on studying the implications for the commonwealth of allowing uranium mining in Virginia.

The National Academy has tried to describe a study that the academy can do and that is what the Uranium Mining Subcommittee wants.

Dr. Karmis has represented the subcommittee in discussion with the National Academy. He has communicated what he thinks the subcommittee and Virginia citizens want studied.

The subcommittee can request changes to the academy draft. The academy process allows for multiple drafts in a back-and-forth process.

Only when there is mutual agreement does the academy develop a study budget. If the subcommittee then commits the funds, a contract can be signed.

The May 21 agenda does not mention the socio-economic study.

The subcommittee has not yet discussed the socio-economic study or who will pay for either study.

Katie Whitehead, Chairman

Dan River Basin Association Mining Task Force


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