In the early 1980s, an 119-million-pound uranium deposit, the largest in the United States, was found in land near Coles Road in Chatham. Soon after, the state imposed a statewide uranium mining ban, which remains in effect today.
Ever since the ban was implemented, efforts have been made to get it lifted so that the uranium can be mined. On Friday, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond upheld the decision to throw out the latest lawsuit in the case. Welcome news for those who are opposed to the mining.
In its opinion, the circuit court agreed that federal law, specifically the Atomic Energy Act, does not preempt the state’s ban and therefore the lawsuit by Virginia Uranium, Inc. claiming that it does, was correctly thrown out.
The lawsuit was thrown out in 2015 by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia and subsequently appealed.