March 16, 2014
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The sponsor of legislation that would have allowed uranium mining in Virginia has withdrawn his bill amid almost certain defeat in a Senate committee.
Sen. John Watkins withdrew the bill Thursday before the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources was to hear it. A companion bill remains in the House, but its prospects of moving forward appear slim.
Watkins' legislation would have created the regulatory structure to oversee uranium mining in Virginia, which would effectively end a 31-year prohibition on the mining of the radioactive ore.
A company has pushed for an end to the moratorium so it can mine the largest known uranium deposit in the U.S. It is located in Pittsylvania.
Full-scale uranium mining has never occurred on the East Coast, and opponents fear the environmental impacts.