May 21, 2018, by Greg Stohr
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider overturning a ban on mining at the site of the nation’s largest known uranium deposit, heeding calls from the Trump administration and the companies that own the Virginia land.
Virginia Energy Resources Inc. and other companies contend in their appeal that the state ban runs afoul of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act. They say that law puts the subject of nuclear safety entirely in the hands of federal regulators.
A federal appeals court rejected that argument last year, upholding the Virginia ban on a 2-1 vote.
The site, near the North Carolina border in Pittsylvania County, contains an estimated 119 million pounds of uranium. The deposit was discovered in the early 1980s.
Virginia officials urged the Supreme Court not to hear the appeal. They contend that the Atomic Energy Act doesn’t regulate conventional uranium mining on private land, leaving states free to do so. Virginia first banned uranium mining in 1982.
The case is Virginia Uranium v. Warren, 16-1275.