Letter — Concerned people, step up and protect our beautiful county

Published 11:00 am Thursday, March 10, 2022

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To the Editor:

Aston Bay, a Canadian gold mining exploratory company, is looking for gold in several locations, including my neighborhood. This isn’t old time panning for gold. It’s industrial gold mining — a possible 5,000 acre complex with open pits, dug hundreds of feet down, which would draw from the water table for miles around.

I fear the day I dare not drink the water from my own faucet. But that day could be soon for Buckingham County because of toxic chemicals, like cyanide, used to separate the gold from the ore. Imagine a possible 500 acre holding pond of forever poisoned waste water. I was shocked to learn that it is well documented that these ponds leach the toxins into the groundwater, impacting our wells. I shudder to think of these waste pond dams failing, sending devastation down the James River to the Chesapeake Bay.

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I hear that tax revenue and jobs for local people would be limited for our community. Unfortunately, it is also well known that the mining industry brings in their own skilled labor and specialty equipment. What clean business will invest in a place with toxic water?

It seems that these mines are done without respect to a clean environment and they would destroy our rural way of life that we have chosen. Our laws need to be updated to protect us! A group of concerned citizens has written an ordinance asserting our responsibility to protect our land and our health. Please sign the petition to support this ordinance here: bit.ly/bhamord.

We are blessed to have clean water, air and this peaceful rural environment to raise our children. May it continue to be so.

Harvey Shelton, EdD