Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Can county's zoning ordinance protect against uranium?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Chatham Star-Tribune

On Feb. 17, I went before the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors to ask that the board update the zoning ordinance and explore the possibility of banning uranium mining in Pittsylvania County.

On May 28, Pittsylvania County Administrator Dan Sleeper asked Sen. Robert Hurt to request an "opinion" from the attorney general.

It read specifically: "On behalf of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors, I am requesting an Attorney General's opinion on whether or not the County of Pittsylvania can pass an ordinance that would ban mining of uranium in its local jurisdiction."

Senator Hurt's letter of June 3 responds to Sleeper, stating that he had contacted the attorney general's office regarding "the question of whether the County of Pittsylvania can adopt an ordinance that would ban uranium mining in its local jurisdiction."

The attorney general's office returned an opinion that had been rendered earlier regarding the adoption of a "chemical trespass ordinance," a newly adopted ordinance by Halifax County.

This is not the question for which an answer is sought.

Our supervisors either missed the mark or aimed 180 degrees from the target regarding the question that should have been asked.

We have an existing local zoning ordinance. Can this ordinance be amended to better protect us regarding the mining and milling of uranium?

Karen B. Maute


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