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APNewsBreak: Va. Farm Bureau Backs Uranium Ban

A spokesman for the company said he was unhappy with the Farm Bureau's stand.

"Absolutely it's disappointing that the state Farm Bureau passed a resolution to keep the moratorium, especially when we see examples around the world where agriculture and uranium have co-existed," Patrick Wales said.

Closer to home, the Pittsylvania County Farm Bureau recently passed a resolution calling for agricultural interests to have a role in developing regulations for uranium mining and milling, if it's allowed, Wales said.

Mining opponents contend the East Coast's first full-fledged uranium mine would operate in a climate that is prone to severe storms and rains that could breach the containment units. They've also argued the stigma of uranium mining will harm tourism and sour consumer interest in any farm products.

Smith said the Farm Bureau was mindful of those concerns.

"We're not talking about something like a petroleum spill or something that can be cleaned up in a day, months or even a couple years," he said. "We're talking about something that could take decades or centuries to clean up that could have devastating effects on neighboring properties."

The Farm Bureau vote comes on the eve of the release of a state report that examines a range of issues related to uranium mining, including a regulatory framework the state would need to have in place.

The Uranium Working Group, which includes state mining, public health and environmental officials, is scheduled to issue its report by the end of the week. It will not include a recommendation on the ban.

___

Steve Szkotak can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sszkotakap

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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