Group Discusses Results of Uranium Mining Survey

Pittsylvania Co., VA - One of the biggest debates in Southside has been over whether to lift the ban on uranium mining.

A local group contracted VCU to survey local residents on what they think of the ban, and the results are in.

About 600 people were surveyed, and more than half feel the ban should stay in place. Many expressed concern over agriculture, water and property values.

"We are representing that faction of people that need a voice," said Ben Davenport from The Alliance for Progress in Southern Virginia.

The economic development group requested the survey. They wanted to get a better idea of public opinion on uranium mining.

"We met and talked about this issue and we said, 'You know, we don't really know what the citizens think' and so we hired Virginia Commonwealth and turned them loose," said Davenport.

Of those 600 surveyed, 53% felt mining should not be allowed and 61% thought it would lower property values in the area. Only 29 % favored lifting the ban.

"There's a lot of negative perception and just the thought of people when they come and look and say 'You've got a big uranium mine here' turns people off," said Dr. Gary Miller, Danville's vice mayor.

Danville resident Brian Blankenship works right across the street from the Dan River and has the same concerns.

"It may bring jobs, but as far as having your children living around... having to drink the water that they pollute, I don't think it's a good idea at all," he said.

Only time will tell if lawmakers will agree, but in the meantime, the survey shows where many people in this area stand.

"It's got some positives but it's got a whole lot more negatives than it does positives," said Blankenship.

A spokesperson from Virginia Uranium says that the poll should not be taken as a representation of the entire community. And anyone who is unclear about the process of uranium mining should do their own research before forming an opinion.