Archive for October, 2012

NC Mayor wants Uranium Ban

Virginia Uranium Inc. often refers to “uranium recovery” from phosphate mining in Florida and Louisiana when trying to make the case for uranium mining in VA.  They do not mention NC…perhaps a little to close to home. “Today, our water table has been drawn down severely by that activity and the water level is so low that the state has mandated we reduce our intake from that aquifer by 75 percent,” he wrote. “That has left us no recourse but to build a new regional Surface Water Treatment Plant on the Roanoke River to supply current and future water needs for our community and surrounding area.”

Why does it seem that the majority of Pittsylvania Supervisors do not see the repercussions of uranium mining milling and radioactive waste disposal?  Snead and Barber seemed to indicate they may favor a resolution but egos seem to be involved as they bickered over who would write a resolution.  In all honesty, the BOS needs to pull their zoning and waste ordinances out of mothballs and work on those if they truly want to give citizens protection for health, waster quality and quantity, property values, continued agricultural base and future diverse economic development.  Within the territorial boundaries of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, it shall be unlawful for any person to dispose of any solid waste without the expressed approval of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors.”  We’re screwed if the Board remains as divided as it seems.

I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the 2 ordinances above so that you can communicate with the BOS about the contents and possible revisions and amendments.


(434) 791-7981

The mayor of Williamston, N.C., Tommy Roberson, has sent a letter to the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors in deep concern about how his area would be impacted if a uranium mine is allowed to be placed in Chatham.

His county commissioners have already sent a letter to the Pittsylvania supervisors in support of the ban.

“It’s a big deal, and most people in eastern North Carolina haven’t awakened to what could happen to us,” Roberson told the Danville Register & Bee on Friday.

Roberson wrote that phosphate mining in eastern North Carolina has already damaged his town’s water availability, despite promises to the contrary.

“Today, our water table has been drawn down severely by that activity and the water level is so low that the state has mandated we reduce our intake from that aquifer by 75 percent,” he wrote. “That has left us no recourse but to build a new regional Surface Water Treatment Plant on the Roanoke River to supply current and future water needs for our community and surrounding area.”

The price tag on that project is $27 million, with another $1 million going to modify its delivery system.

“These costs are being paid for by the citizens in an area that has the dubious distinction of being the fourth poorest area in the United States,” Roberson wrote, noting the area must completely rely on the Roanoke River for drinking water and has no other options.

He told the Register & Bee that he is also concerned about the ecotourism efforts in his region, which produces oysters and shrimp.

“I can’t even imagine what part of the state tourism comes from that estuary area,” he said.

Roberson fears that any catastrophe resulting from uranium mining and milling will not only leave them with no drinking water, but kill off a growing ecotourism industry giving hope to their area, which has been labeled “economically stressed.” Furthermore, he said, the coastal ecosystem needs to be protected.

“It (the Roanoke River) provides 70 percent of the water in our sound,” he said. “That’s the complete estuary program in the eastern part of our state.”

He also fears the General Assembly will punt the issue back to Pittsylvania County and that local authorities will ultimately decide whether the mine happens or not.

“If the state of Virginia is going to shift the burden to them, then we need to be in communication with them,” he said.

Writing letters and talking to people, he said, is all he can do: “We have no way of applying any pressure, because we are not constituents of the state of Virginia.”

Jackson reports for the Danville Register & Bee.


Thanks for fwd’ing this around to your group’s vast email distribution list, Karen. As you well know, Dale Swiggett of Burlington, NC has been hollering about this very issue and all the interrelated issues for many yrs and in typical fashion has been the target of the old warfare tactic of ‘kill the messenger.’

Follow the $$ trail and see who stands to lose, whether it’s just a paycheck (bottom end of the scale) up to the highest end of the scale where power players’ bottom profit line is adversely affected. As the vast majority of folks know, there is a cost of ‘doing business’ but in reality it is normally a pittance when compared w/ huge profits.

For those who know Dale Swiggett, he is no different than any other human being in the fact that we are all flawed. Some have compared him to Mel Gibson’s character in the movie ‘Conspiracy Theory’ and others have described him as the Forest Gump of the Environment. In my opinion, his fall down the proverbial Alice’s Rabbit Hole has damaged him because he has consistently challenged the status quo who has been a part of the problem(s) or has participated in the cover-up. In reality, all this man wants to do is move forward in working w/ others to bring solutions to the problems that we are now left with. He has attracted other ‘whistleblowers’ who have weighed in on issues that make up the ugliest Gordian Knot ever but there is comfort (and incredible strength) in numbers.

Dale’s lawsuit against PCS Phosphate is still in play (Swiggett v. PCS Phosphate, 4:11-CV-00169), so I encourage you to forward my reply to you of gratitude and support for the fight against VUI’s push to mine uranium out to your email list, ma’m. The controversial Sea Level Rise issue has deep roots in what Dale and his group of experts have brought to light. And yes, all issues are related if people would just ‘connect the dots.’ The time that we now face is called ‘critical mass’ and it remains to be seen as to what transpires from this point going forward.

Edmund Burke put it so well…“All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.” Thanks again for all your hard work in keeping the masses informed, Karen!

Renee Warren (in NC)

From News & Observer: Four Decades of Cleaner Water


By Bill Holman

In the 1960s, when my family drove by all those textile mills on Interstate 85 on our way to visit grandparents in Georgia, I couldn’t imagine that our rivers wouldn’t always run brown. I couldn’t picture paddling my canoe on the Neuse River below Raleigh’s wastewater discharge.

But a visionary law and effective partnerships between federal, state and local governments have achieved more than I would have thought possible when I was a boy.

Forty years ago tomorrow, Congress passed the Clean Water Act and President Richard M. Nixon signed it into law. It is one of the most successful endeavors we’ve undertaken as a nation.

Public and private investment, new technology, effective regulation and public education have all contributed to its success. Today, more than half of the nation’s waterways meet water quality standards. In our state, waterfronts from Wilmington to Asheville have been redeveloped.

The Clean Water Act did more than just improve water quality. It has created a clean water technology industry – some of it based in North Carolina – and thousands of jobs for construction and maintenance workers. It helps sustain our travel and tourism industry and our thriving outdoor recreational industry. This is true across the country.

Yet despite its considerable success, the Clean Water Act is still a work in progress. I can now imagine capturing and reusing rainwater and stormwater for irrigation, cooling and other non-potable uses. I can see highly treated wastewater or reclaimed water becoming a valuable resource to help the Research Triangle, Charlotte and other regions meet their future water demands.

I can envision recovering the energy and nutrients in human, animal and food waste. The framework of the Clean Water Act will help us seize these 21st century opportunities.

Although we’ve made dramatic strides in reducing pollution from municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants, we’ve failed to keep up with the stormwater pollution and sedimentation generated by sprawling development patterns and poor agricultural practices. We’re still allowing tons of valuable nutrients and soil to run off our farms, towns and cities. These pollutants clog our reservoirs, rivers and estuaries with sediment and excess algae.

However, new stormwater practices, technologies and markets are developing rapidly in response to increased flooding and state regulations to reduce pollution in drinking water supplies and estuaries. Some cities have just begun to realize that capturing and reusing stormwater not only reduces pollution, but reduces demand for precious drinking water. Mecklenburg County has integrated its stormwater, flood protection and parks and recreation programs to restore Little Sugar Creek in Charlotte and spark redevelopment of the former Mid-Town Plaza strip mall.

The Upper Neuse River Basin Association is working to protect Falls Lake and the other drinking water supplies in the Research Triangle region while striking a balance between the interests of upstream and downstream communities. The Catawba-Wateree Water Management Group is planning to meet the water supply and water quality challenges facing Duke Energy, Charlotte and the other municipalities that share the water resources of the Catawba River.

In 1972, our political leaders brought us together to achieve a common national goal of clean water. Today, people in North Carolina and elsewhere have embraced the collaboration needed to protect our water resources.

And in the future, water will become even more valuable, and North Carolina needs to continue the policies that have worked to insure our water is safe and clean.

Bill Holman is director of the state policy program at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. He previously served as secretary of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources and as executive director of the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund.

Comment from Don Yelton:

Bill Holman was present when I made the presentation at the Water Resources Research Institute many years ago.  This was about the time he was in Asheville visiting with Karen of Riverfront.  The organization that hires the river keeper.  She got a large grant from the Clean Water Trust Fund to purchase the Old Asheville Speedway and shut it down so it could be given to a non profit  as the owners could save a lot of tax dollars and the non profit turned it over to the city of Asheville.   The rest of the story was that the Biltmore Estate wanted to build a multi-million dollars hotel without race cars in the distance.

Do We need to say that other cities were paying millions to get a NASCAR track.  Now back to Mr Holman.  My presentation was addressing using rewards to get pollution reducing efforts and using small basins as the planning area.  One law can not be applied in flat coastal area and the same law applied in the mountains. Mr. Holman comment an interesting idea.  These types of approaches do not promote big jobs at universities or with the government.   Glad to see your comments peetiepup. I think I answered your question about Holman for you.