Loading...

Virginia Ban on Uranium Mining Upheld

June 17, 2019 by Dan McCue
Virginia Ban on Uranium Mining Upheld

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld Virginia’s decades-old ban on mining radioactive uranium, holding “Congress conspicuously chose to leave untouched the States’ historic authority over the regulation of mining activities on private lands within their borders.”

The huge deposit of uranium ore at the center of the case was discovered on private land in Pittsylvania County, Virginia in the early 1980s. Further analysis of the site led to estimates of roughly 119 million pounds of uranium ore being underground at the site.

Court documents from the case place the value of the deposit at about $6 billion.

The owners of the land above the deposit, Coles Hill LLC and Bowen Minerals LLC, have been eager to see the potential mine developed and have been leasing the mineral estate to Virginia Uranium and its parent company, Virginia Energy Resources, to do just that.

In 1985, the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission concluded the benefits of uranium mining greatly outweigh the costs associated with such activity, and that it could be carried out safely under strict guidelines imposed by the state.

Despite these assurances, the Virginia General Assembly kept the moratorium on mining in place.

Virginia Uranium sued in the Western District of Virginia on the grounds that Virginia’s moratorium is federally preempted. When the federal district court decided in favor of the state, the mining company appealed the case to the Fourth Circuit, where it also lost.

On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed with those decisions, ruling 6-3 that a federal law called the Atomic Energy Act does not keep the state from banning uranium mining.

“Virginia Uranium insists that the federal Atomic Energy Act preempts a state law banning uranium mining, but we do not see it,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the majority.

As explained in the ruling, the Act gives the federal government oversight over processing the radioactive uranium and storing the radioactive waste that results. However, it is silent on the subject of mining.

In a dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts said this is exactly the point. In his view, the state cannot ban uranium mining based on concerns about hazards connected with later steps. He was joined in dissent by Justices Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito.

The case is Virginia Uranium v. John Warren, 16-1275.

In The News

Health

Voting

State News

January 19, 2023
by Dan McCue
Arizona Appeals Court Upholds State’s Mail-In Voting System

PHOENIX — Arizona’s mail-in, early voting process does not violate voters’ constitutional right to privacy, the state Court of Appeals... Read More

PHOENIX — Arizona’s mail-in, early voting process does not violate voters’ constitutional right to privacy, the state Court of Appeals has ruled. Tuesday’s ruling by a three-judge panel is a blow to the Arizona Republican Party and its chair, Kelli Ward, who had previously tried to... Read More

So Long, California: Major County Votes to Study Secession

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (AP) — The November elections saw Californians continue to embrace progressive leadership, but voters in one of... Read More

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (AP) — The November elections saw Californians continue to embrace progressive leadership, but voters in one of the state’s most populous counties are so frustrated with this political direction that they voted to consider seceding and forming their own state. An advisory ballot... Read More

November 8, 2022
by Dan McCue
Health Care Issues on the Ballot in Several States

WASHINGTON — It’s not just the control of the U.S. House and Senate that’s hanging in the balance as voters... Read More

WASHINGTON — It’s not just the control of the U.S. House and Senate that’s hanging in the balance as voters go to the polls today, in states across the nation ballots are being cast on health care issues ranging from abortion to Medicaid expansion and the... Read More

June 21, 2022
by Dan McCue
Justices to Decide Future of Mob Watchdog on Waterfront

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will try to resolve a dispute between New York and New Jersey... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will try to resolve a dispute between New York and New Jersey over the latter’s desire to back out of a 1953 agreement to work together to combat corruption and racketeering on the waterfront docks the two states... Read More

April 13, 2022
by Reece Nations
First Bus of Texas Migrants Arrives Near Capitol 

WASHINGTON — A week after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to begin transporting busloads of migrants to Washington, D.C., the... Read More

WASHINGTON — A week after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to begin transporting busloads of migrants to Washington, D.C., the first transport arrived blocks away from the Capitol building. At Abbott’s direction, the Texas Division of Emergency Management chartered the buses to transport the people apprehended... Read More

February 22, 2022
by Kate Michael
‘Freedom First’ Approach Sees Florida Tourism Grow Beyond Pre-Pandemic Levels

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida tourism is rebounding exceptionally well and even surpassing pre-pandemic levels according to a recent announcement from... Read More

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida tourism is rebounding exceptionally well and even surpassing pre-pandemic levels according to a recent announcement from Gov. Ron DeSantis. The Sunshine State welcomed 30.9 million visitors between October and December 2021, and nearly a full 118 million domestic visitors during the whole... Read More

News From The Well