Chatham, VA - What seems like a never-ending debate on the Southside may have hit a temporary stall.According to a Hampton Roads media outlet, Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe announced this week he will stand behind the ban on uranium mining, but Virginia Uranium officials say that's a big change from a more neutral approach McAuliffe had taken in the last few weeks.
"We understood that Governor-Elect McAuliffe had some reservations and needed to be convinced on the science, but I felt that it was a little bit inconsistent with his previous comments on the subject, " said Virginia Uranium Project Manager Patrick Wales.
Now, officials say their determination to educate the community is stronger than ever.
"We're in this for the long haul and we're committed to seeing this project through to completion, " said Wales, but for those who disagree that mining can be done safely, McAuliffe's stand brings a big sigh of relief.
Supervisor Jerry Hagerman has been active in his opposition to mining. He wasn't sure which way McAuliffe would go, but he's glad to have some support in Richmond.
"It makes me feel good, for the safety of the public, all the way from Pittsylvania County to the beach, " said Hagerman.
Everyone knows this isn't the end. Hagerman says, for now, he will count his blessings, but if McAuliffe changes his mind, he and others like him will be ready.
"I certainly don't think it's over, and if that does happen, it just means we will have to be better prepared, " Hagerman said.