The Sierra Club Virginia Chapter commends the City of Virginia Beach for commissioning an independent study on the impacts of uranium mining on the city’s drinking water supply.
“The Virginia Beach study modeled severe rain events occurring in the area for proposed uranium mining in Virginia”, said Eileen Levandoski, conservation program manager with the Sierra Club. “The study clearly indicates great cause for concern for the citizens of not only Virginia Beach, but also Chesapeake and Norfolk who get their drinking water from a downstream source of the proposed mine site, Lake Gaston.”
“The City of Virginia Beach is to be applauded for its leadership in protecting the health of its citizens by commissioning this study”, added Glen Besa, director of the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter. “The study commissioned by the Commonwealth, conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, and paid for by the uranium mining industry is dangerously devoid of any site specific study.”
The Virginia Beach study was presented yesterday (Feb. 1, 2011) by Tom Leahy, Director of Public Works, who was instrumental in pushing Council to underwrite the $400,000+ study. The study will be available online at vbgov.com/pu on Friday.
Mr. Leahy is the featured speaker at the Sierra Club Chesapeake Bay group meeting on Monday, Feb. 7th, 7pm in the Shafer Room at Virginia Wesleyan College. Councilman Jim Wood will offer introductory remarks. The meeting is open to the public.
The Sierra Club has also scheduled meetings on Friday, Feb. 4 with city officials in Chesapeake and Norfolk, with their own expert, Robert Tohe, who is involved in a coalition of native groups working with residents in New Mexico and Arizona who still suffer from the health effects of past uranium mining and milling operations.
“Radioactive waste from uranium mining and milling has been linked to increases in leukemia, kidney disease, and other severe health problems”, said Besa. “Uranium was mined on Navajo Territory for over fifty years and the impacts are still felt. This is not what Virginia wants in its future. As the Virginia Beach study proves, rain events like Tropical Storm Gaston, which dumped 14 inches of rain on Richmond – could overwhelm uranium operations.”