Southside citizens oppose uranium mining


Heck no, we wont glow.

That is the motto of Southside Concerned Citizens, a group opposed to legislation that could lead to uranium mining in south-central Virginia.

The group can breath a little easier after the General Assemblys recent legislative session: On March 3, a House committee killed a proposal that would have allowed a study of the safety of uranium mining. The study would have shown whether uranium can safely be mined on 200 acres in Pittsylvania County.

Even though the matter has been tabled for this year, it is likely the issue will show up again next year.

Southside Concerned Citizens is a non-profit corporation formed in 1983 by residents of Pittsylvania, Halifax and Henry counties. Their goal is to preserve the quality of life in their communities. They oppose uranium mining and any exploratory drilling because we know it cannot be done safely, says the organizations Web site.

We also oppose it because of the burden of the environmental clean-up that will be placed on our local communities and state when the mine companies cease their operations, the Web site says.

We oppose it because of the extremely negative economic and social impact it will have on our fragile local economies. And, we oppose it because of the disastrous effect it will have on the esthetics of our beautiful, bountiful lands.

Jack Dunavant, the executive board chairman of Southside Concerned Citizens, said uranium mining is a complex subject.

To understand it fully, people need to be somewhat versed in the fields of hydrology, geology, physics, chemistry, sociology, climatology, medicine and economics, as it affects all of these areas, he said.

Our biggest obstacle is trying to educate people who are not well versed in most of these fields about the dangers posed by the mining of uranium.

Dunavant believes that most citizens of Halifax are against mining once they understand the issue.

The health concerns are all long term and almost always come about by ingesting the powdered uranium. If the dust is inhaled, it will likely lead to lung cancer, and if eaten or swallowed, it leads to internal organ cancers, Dunavant said.

Once the true light of day is shone on all the issues, everyone but a few will see that there is no way to safely mine uranium in this area. That having been said, given the nature of man, as long as there is money to be made, someone will try to resurrect this issue again and again.