The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine will conduct an independent study of the health, safety and environmental impacts of gold mining in Virginia as part of a state review that lawmakers agreed to undertake in 2021.

Among the issues the committee will examine are current gold mining operations at sites similar to those found in Virginia, the potential impacts of such operations’ byproducts on downstream communities and whether existing state environmental regulations related to gold mining are sufficient to protect air and water quality.

According to an agreement between the National Academies and Virginia’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy signed this July, the committee will produce an “independent, peer-reviewed consensus report” for DMME, which will then release its own “companion report” in response.

Gold mining became an unexpectedly hot-button issue of Virginia’s 2021 legislative session when Del. Elizabeth Guzman, D-Prince William, proposed a temporary ban on the activity until a study of its environmental and health impacts could be completed.

Read the full article published August 10, 2021 by the Virginia Mercury.

Written by Sarah Vogelsong

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