Ban on uranium mining upheld as Virginia Supreme Court refuses to reopen inferior court decision


In a terse ruling on Thursday, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled it will not appeal a lower court’s decision to uphold the state’s uranium mining moratorium.

“The Court is of the opinion that there is no reversible error in the impugned judgment,” said SCOVA. “Accordingly, the Court dismisses the appeal request.”

The ruling upholds a July 2020 ruling by the Wise County Circuit Court and once again leaves Virginia’s 39-year ban on uranium mining, which the US Supreme Court said the state had the right to tax in 2019.

“Congress has clearly chosen to leave intact the historic authority of states over the regulation of mining activities on private lands within their borders,” wrote Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch in this case, Virginia Uranium , Inc. et al. vs. Warren et al.

Virginia Uranium has for years sought to mine a site in Pittsylvania County, which is home to the largest known uranium deposit in the United States. its extraction due to environmental and public health concerns.

A 2013 effort to remove the ban from legislation failed.

But while the lawsuit that ultimately went to the U.S. Supreme Court argued that federal atomic energy law should override the Virginia moratorium, a separate argument from Virginia Uranium in the U.S. Circuit Court Wise County argued that the state ban unconstitutionally deprived owners of their property rights.

In July 2020, Judge Chadwick Dotson ruled against the company, ruling that although the ban deprives owners of property rights, Virginia has a compelling right to do so in the case of uranium mining.

“There can really be no argument that a moratorium on uranium mining, which is an inherently dangerous activity with potentially dangerous prohibitive effects, fulfills the legitimate duty of the Commonwealth to protect the public from injury and to protect the health, safety and well-being of citizens. ,” he wrote.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring on Thursday applauded the Virginia Supreme Court’s decision not to appeal Dotson’s ruling, saying it “once again affirms what I’ve been saying from the start – that the Virginia has the right to regulate mining activities “.

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