Letter — We need to be protected from metallic mining

Published 6:03 pm Friday, November 18, 2022

Dear Editor,

According to a recent report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Buckingham County cannot rely on Virginia’s existing regulations to protect county residents from the dangers of gold mining. Per the report, Virginia’s regulatory framework is completely outdated and inadequate when dealing with the risks associated with modern gold mining. Without strong local protections, all county residents are at high risk of polluted land, poisoned water, and falling property values.

With no meaningful regulations afforded to us by the state government, it is more essential than ever to enact strong local protections against this toxic trespass. The best way to accomplish this is through overlapping legal frameworks. The Buckingham County Board of Supervisors has already signaled their interest in adopting zoning ordinances to prohibit metallic mining in the county. While this is welcome news, the Board of Supervisors does not go far enough.

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After all, zoning ordinances frequently can be undermined through Special Exceptions and Special Use Permits. In addition to updated zoning ordinances, it is imperative that the Board enacts a rights-based ordinance asserting the rights of all Buckingham County residents to live free of the toxic trespass that metallic mining would bring. The only way to ensure that our land is not poisoned beneath us without our consent is to enact multiple, overlapping layers of protection.

I cannot overstate what a dangerous crossroads we are at. Now is the time to make your voices heard and to inform the Board of Supervisors in no uncertain terms that we will not accept anything less than full protection from the harms of metallic mining in Buckingham County.

Chris Godschalk