Groups join Virginia to defend ban on uranium mining

U.S. Supreme Court to take up case of decades-old ban

A farm in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. (© Cat McCue)

Today SELC, on behalf of Roanoke River Basin Association, Dan River Basin Association and the Piedmont Environmental Council, filed an amicus curiae brief, or “friend of the court” brief with the United States Supreme Court, supporting the Commonwealth of Virginia’s case to uphold its ban on uranium mining.

Virginia has the right to determine what kind of industrial activity is best for its communities,” said SELC attorney Will Cleveland. “A uranium industry in southern Virginia would stifle new business and threaten existing businesses, all the while degrading the environment and increasing health risks for people living nearby.”

Virginia’s ban on uranium mining was established in 1982. In 2007 Virginia Uranium, Inc. launched several attempts to exploit a uranium deposit in Pittsylvania County, in southern Virginia.

The company has consistently failed to circumvent the ban through legislation or legal action and has met opposition at every turn from local government, business, health and environmental groups.

This last-resort appeal to the Supreme Court comes after a 2017 decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to uphold the uranium ban in Virginia.

Argument in the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled for November 5.

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