I was born and raised in Virginia and raise my family here now. I oppose large scale mining in Virginia. Below are my concerns about this:
Virginia has hundreds of abandoned small-scale mines from the early 20th century that have left a legacy of mercury pollution along the Gold-Pyrite Belt, which stretches from Northern Virginia to the North Carolina border.
Regulations have not been updated since the early 1900s, even though the mining process today occurs on a much larger scale.
Virginia’s lack of a comprehensive regulatory framework and insufficient bonding requirements lay a dangerous foundation for an industrial-scale extractive industry to put public health and drinking water at risk.
Likely sites for new large-scale gold mines would be in close proximity to the James River and its watershed, which provides drinking water for 2.7 million people, brings millions of dollars into Virginia’s economy from commercial fishing, and attracts over 6 million visitors annually.
Operations could result in groundwater withdrawal, which could impact the availability of water for private drinking wells.
Access to clean drinking water sources is a chief concern for many Virginia communities and existing strains for communities would be exacerbated by a new, harmful industry.
I appreciate your time and attention to my concerns.