Residents Raise Questions About Legality Of Uranium Mining Billboard
Pittsylvania Co., VA - A sign declaring Pittsylvania County "the future home of the world's safest uranium mine" has stood on Route 29 for months now, but local anti-uranium groups want to see it come down.Anti-uranium advocate Karen Maute took a look at the state code section that relates to advertising, and this is what she found: Code 33.1-369 says advertisements cannot promote "activities which are illegal under state or federal laws".
Another sub-section says a billboard that "advertises a county, city, [or] town..." must have "consent, in writing," from the local governing body.
"Virginia Uranium can just keep its sign up, but just take 'Welcome to Pittsylvania County' off it. Don't advertise our county as the future safest uranium mine in the world, " Maute said.
Maute went to VDOT with her concerns and they told her that code section does not apply to the sign. They said the billboard is "a suggestion or political speech", not an advertisement, but local officials say they still would have appreciated a request for their consent.
"I wish they had of contacted the governing body of Pittsylvania Co. before they did that, " said Supervisor Jerry Hagerman.
Hagerman says the county attorney is looking into the issue. In the meantime, the billboard will continue to greet those entering Pittsylvania County.
Right now, VDOT has no plans of removing the message.
Virginia Uranium said it is "not surprising" that anti-uranium groups are speaking out against the billboard, but they say the company believes in freedom of speech and a positive future for Pittsylvania County.