On June 22, 2010, the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission's Uranium Mining Subcommittee will conduct a public hearing to receive the public's recommendations on the scope of the socioeconomic study of impacts of uranium mining on our communities. The Uranium Mining Subcommittee will be accepting written comments until June 30, 2010, only eight days after the date of the meeting. Such a short comment period is insufficient to ensure Virginia citizens' due process rights.
In May 2010, in regard to the procedures to be employed to determine the scope of the socioeconomic study of uranium mining, the Uranium Mining Subcommittee Chairman Ware publicly stated that “the format and procedures will be precisely as were the format and procedures in crafting the scope of study for the technical study” of uranium mining in Virginia.
Just to remind the readers, The first public hearing on the scope of the technical study of uranium mining was held on December 12, 2008, and the deadline for written comments was set on December 29, 2008. The second public hearing was held on January 6, 2009 and written comments were due on January 19, 2009. After the first public hearing on the scope of the technical study interested parties had 17 days to prepare and deliver their written comments; after the second meeting, the interested parties had 13 days. None of the comment deadlines was as unreasonably short as eight days.
The June 30 deadline for submitting written comments is unacceptably short because it provides only eight days to prepare and deliver written comments to the location in Richmond. Given the limited amount of time, comments from those who reside outside of Richmond might never arrive on time unless sent by express mail. Concerned citizens and businesses should not be compelled to prepare and deliver their written comments before they have an opportunity to attend the June 22 public meeting and hear the discussion of issues recommended for inclusion in the scope of the study..
400-500 people are expected to attend the June 22 meeting; naturally, not everyone who is willing and prepared to speak will be able to get included in the agenda. Those people will have only eight days to prepare and deliver their written comments to Richmond. In order to meet the June 30 deadline, interested parties will have to rely on express mail delivery. Not everyone can afford t to pay the express mail costs. The June 30 deadline will essentially deprive those people of an opportunity to provide their comments on a very important matter.
Interested parties should not be deprived of an opportunity to finalize their written comments based on the public discussion of issues at the June 22, 2010 meeting and to submit those comments on time without incurring high costs of express mail delivery.
Please email to Del. Ware at DelLWare@house.virginia.gov to request that the comment deadline be extended to provide more time to prepare comments based on the live discussion of issues at the June 22 meeting.
Reference materials: “Uranium Mining Subcommittee to Meet in Chatham June 22” by Tim Davis, Star-Tribune
December 12, 2008 Meeting Agenda
January 6, 2009 Meeting Agenda