According to a former Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) official, Virginia’s regulatory agencies are fully equipped and equal to the challenge of regulating uranium mining in a way that protects the environment and public health.
“Virginia is more than fully capable of managing this important endeavor in a responsible manner,” writes Paul Spaulding, former DEQ program manager and practicing environmental attorney at Cravens & Noll PC, in an Op/Ed in Virginia Business magazine.
Mr. Spaulding argues that Virginia has the opportunity to develop a robust, model regulatory program that protects the environment and public health and allows for the development of Virginia’s largest untapped energy resource, the Coles Hill uranium deposit in Pittsylvania County.
“Virginia is capable of winning on all fronts in its decision on uranium mining,” Spaulding writes, “but only if it ends the moratorium after developing the strictest and most conservative requirements for protecting human health and the environment.”
Mr. Spaulding is particularly hopeful that Virginia will seize this opportunity to develop a “a cutting-edge regulatory funding scheme that can serve as a national model.” Spaulding says that commitments already made by Virginia Uranium Inc., the company seeking to develop the Coles Hill deposit, are cause for optimism.
“Virginia Uranium Inc. says it is willing and able to pay financial assurance mechanisms and permitting fees to support the necessary regulatory protection and oversight of its operations,” Spaulding writes. “The goal is to ensure this funding, to be paid by the regulated entity to the regulators, is fully adequate and is not subject to change based on the ultimate production or marketability of the product.”