Reporter: Ashley Singh l Videographer: Nick King
Pittsylvania Co., VA - The possibility of uranium mining in the Southside has put the Roanoke River on a list of most endangered rivers. American Rivers, an environmental group, says lifting the 1982 ban on mining would threaten the river as well as drinking supplies in the region.
Virginia Uranium says contamination isn't anything to be concerned about. But those against mining say listing the river as endangered is crucial to saving it.
Anti-Uranium activist Karen Maute says putting the Roanoke River on an endangered rivers list is meant to be a wake up call.
"This is not a good idea for Virginia, for peoples' health, for the environment, for future economic development," she said. "If the water is compromised which it seems to have been in many other places for this activity of mining and milling then at that point in time its too late."
She says uranium mining would threaten health and tourism and keep businesses from locating in the area.
Patrick Wales with Virginia Uranium says he's confident that no waterways would be contaminated.
"We do have a couple creeks that transect our property that ultimately end up flowing into the Banister River, Banister flows into the Dan and the Dan flows into the Kerr Reservoir. The Roanoke River is not a river that intersects with our property until about 100 miles downstream," he said.
Wales also says there would be engineered controls and a waste water treatment plant on site.
"This is our home this is where we've all chosen to come back and raise our families, raise our children and I don't think any of us would be involved in this if we didn't have great confidence that this industry is safe," he said.
"There are a lot of unknowns here, but are we willing to take the risk," said Maute.