Letter to the Editor: What happens in Buckingham affects everyone

Published 12:53 am Friday, February 10, 2023

Dear Editor, 

We have yet to get protections in Virginia from the ravages of new modern industrial gold mining. Your voices are needed to move Buckingham County Supervisors to adopt available safeguards! There is overwhelming documentation that this industry, with its dire track record around the world, would be devastating for any community. 

Buckingham supervisors have created a committee to review the state-funded study on the impacts of gold mining on Virginia and explore local solutions. Supervisors Bryant and Miles, and myself now serve on this committee. The next public meeting of the County committee on industrial gold mining is Monday, February 13, 4:30 p.m. in the Administration Building, Hwy. 60. 

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Your input is welcome and needed. This impacts your water, air, land, and your local economy.

The state study has been out since December 1. It unequivocally concluded Virginia does not have sufficient regulations in place to protect our public health from the industry. And unfortunately there are no solutions at the state level in sight. It’s up to us to protect ourselves locally, which we know we can do. And we have to assert the right to protect ourselves.

Ben Price and Joe Lerch have been invited to speak at the meeting on 2/13 about two different and complementary solutions that could be adopted. Ben Price, of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) will speak about the benefits of the proposed rights-based freedom from toxic trespass of metallic mining ordinance. Joe Lerch, from the Virginia Association of Counties (VACO) will speak about the state-granted local authority to create a land-use ordinance to prohibit metallic mining.

You are welcome to attend all committee meetings. And then speak up in the public comment period at the Supervisors meeting at 6 p.m. Sign up is 5:30-5:55 p.m. Speaking to your supervisor directly is a good idea as well. 

What happens in Buckingham affects all other counties, especially those downstream. Ask your Supervisor to pass both ordinances – we need all the protections we can get! 

Heidi Dhivya Berthoud