Meaningful state protections are looking increasingly doubtful. See the articles below. First up, local protections could to be the answer to stopping metallic mining at our doorstep.
See 3 articles in the Farmville Herald. And watch Ben Price, Community Organizer with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) explain to the Buckingham Board of Supervisors (BoS) how a rights-based and a land-use ordinance would work.
- Editor Brian Carlton of the Farmville Herald gives good coverage of the local protections issue. Click here.
- Chris Godschalk, thank you for your Farmville Herald letter to the editor: in support of both local ordinances. Click here.
- Julia Maria Gibson, thank your for your LTE: Buckingham County Board of Supervisors Must Consider a Dual Defense Against Gold Mining. Click here.
- Ben Price begins at 16:45 minutes. Public comments follow. Check out David Waters’ comments at 57:50
Note: CELDF developed rights-based ordinances have been adopted across the country. See background on community rights here. What’s new is the Prove It First clause: before getting a permit, the applying industry must show proof of another such project that has caused no harm. This was inspired by former state law in Wisconsin, where for 20 years, the law stopped all sulphide mining, until an industry-friendly governor took the law down. We know we must maintain eternal vigil to protect what we love.
Problems with adopting State level protections
One of the factors contributing to our strong doubts that a divided General Assembly would improve regulations or ban gold mining at the state level, is Governor Youngkin’s campaign pledge to cut regulations by 25%. The Virginia Mercury covers that issue:
More developments at the national level, discouraging meaningful reforms of mining in Virginia, or nationally:
With their newfound control, Republicans could threaten to withhold funding from agencies perceived as taking too long to approve mines. President Joe Biden, though, will still oversee the permitting process.
Uranium mining rears its ugly head again:
News from Pittsylvania County: “This level of support for nuclear energy at the state level, combined with the local support for Coles Hill, gives [Consolidated] confidence that the moratorium on developing uranium projects in the state may ultimately be overcome,” the company said.”
Virginia uranium deposit to be sold to Canadian firm:
Also, a very short article from NPR: https://www.wvtf.org/news/2022-11-18/virginia-lawmakers-may-weigh-what-to-do-about-precious-metal-mining-next-session
Rare Earth Minerals is another concerning, related mining issue:
Rare earth metal mining coming to Nebraska
Nebraska project finds key minerals, but can it mine them?
From the VA Energy Dept. website link:
In Virginia, nearly all of the 50 critical minerals on the Federal list occur in trace quantities, but at the present time, 14 rare earth elements (REE) , titanium , and zirconium are considered to have high potential for economic commercial development.
Podcast Virginia: Jordan Miles: The Trouble with Virginia’s Gold Rush
17 minute interview with the Chair of the Buckingham Board of Supervisors, Jordan Miles
Gold mining study calls for updated regulations in Virginia
By Joe Dashiell
Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 7:23 PM EDT
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDBJ) – A new report on gold mining in Virginia says the state should update its laws and regulations to protect against potential impacts to public health and the environment.
Virginia was a major gold producer before the California Gold Rush. And at least one mining company has been exploring for gold deposits in Buckingham County.
The report from the National Academies of Sciences said Virginia lacks an effective and consistent process for reviewing the potential impacts of possible gold mining, “making it unlikely that robust site-specific impact assessments will take place.”