Hargrave President Opposes Uranium Mining, Alumni React

Pittsylvania Co., VA - The uranium mining debate is heating up with more leaders in the community speaking out on the issue.

The president and trustees at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham are the latest to express their opposition to lifting the moratorium on uranium mining, but some Hargrave alumni, and members of the community are not happy about that decision.

The Danville - Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce asked members to submit their stance on uranium mining.

Hargrave President Don Broome did just that and shared his response in an email to Hargrave alumni.

Now, some who received that email are saying they disagree with the president's choice.

One of the recipients of that email is Hargrave alumnus and Virginia Uranium Chief Geologist Dr. Joseph Aylor.

He's paid by the lobbying group that's working to have the mining ban lifted.

"We have our own opinions and I have my own recommendations about it, " said Aylor.

Aylor, who has worked in uranium for 12 years, disagrees with Broome that a stigma would develop as a result of the mining site being 5 miles from the school.

"He could have asked for input from the alumni to see how they felt and if they had concerns they should list those concerns, " Aylor said.

"Well over 60 % of the alumni would ask me, 'What's Hargrave's position on this uranium issue?'. I said, 'Look, they need to understand where we're at with this,' " said General Broome, who conferred with the Board of Trustees to come to the decision to oppose lifting the ban.

He says it's about doing what they felt is best for the future of the school and its students.

Parents of Hargrave cadets seem to agree that lifting the moratorium would have a negative impact.

"We love Hargrave and I think it would just be a very sad thing for them... and for us, " said Jill Garrett, who has two sons that currently attend the military academy.

Even though many are still divided on the issue, Broome says he felt it was important to take a clear stance.

"People are not always going to agree with your stance and I understand that, and I understood that when I sent that email out. We are doing this for the long-term benefit of the school, " said Broome.

The state is drawing closer to making their final decision on whether to lift the moratorium.

The uranium mining working group created by Governor Bob McDonnell held their final meeting Tuesday evening before submitting final reports to legislators.