I want to register my deep concern about gold mining in Virginia. Mining of this sort can result in long-term negative impacts on drinking water, and I'm worried about the heavy metals and toxins that might be leached into the waterways in the process. I grew up amidst the ravaged Wyoming Valley in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, a region that was heavily mined (for anthracite) for decades, long before I was born. Even now, 70 years after most of those anthracite mines were closed, (often in response to industrial disasters such as the Knox Mine disaster) the landscape of my home town bears the scars of this practice. There were barren slag heaps of waste products everywhere, farmlands and forests were destroyed, and the rivers and streams are still full of toxic heavy metals that make fishing and even drinking the water hazardous. Taxpayers are still burdened with outrageous clean-up efforts, and there is tremendous political fallout as my home community tried to rebuild after decades of extractive industry that only benefited a few coal barons. Virginia must put water quality and safety first, and we must not allow gold mining, especially industrial gold mining, to take place here.