As the Comstock-LuHaul race is put beyond the reach of the DCCC, it would appear as if Virginia’s 5th District is beginning to heat up in a big way.
To wit, the Dittmar campaign has launched into an attack on Garrett regarding his support for — among other things — uranium mining.
The reaction from the Garrett campaign? Hysterics… and a retreat:
“Citizens in Virginia Five espouse honesty and integrity. My opponent’s ad has neither. I have never voted for uranium mining in Virginia. Ever. If the media follows through on their responsibility to report the truth, they will verify this.”
One of the bills in question, HB 1790, merely establishes a Virginia Nuclear Consortium which aims to make Virginia a world leader in nuclear power – bringing jobs to thriving Virginia employers such as Babcock and Wilcox and Areva in the process.
Here’s a 2014 report from the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium Authority (sic) where Coles Hill is specifically mentioned  (page 44 for those interested).
Took five stinkin’ minutes, folks.
…and just in case this is a classic case of post hoc ergo propter hoc on the part of the Dittmar campaign, the anti-uranium folks were indeed claiming  in 2013 that uranium mining would be in the purview of this consortium/authority.
To recap: the bill came up, the anti-uranium folks warned that it would open the door to uranium mining, Garrett (wisely) supported the bill… and in 2014, VNECA kept the door open to uranium mining in their report — just as the anti-uranium mining folks said they would.
HB 1790  and SB 1138  kept the door open for uranium mining further down the road. Not a bad thing at all — there’s $10 billion in the ground for schools, deputies, roads, ports, and all the things that Democrats claim to care about. The sooner we dig it up, the better, because helps keep Virginia out front as a pro-energy powerhouse.
Which is the odd thing about all of this. Garrett has no reason to be ashamed of voting for the interests of uranium mining in Virginia. Honestly, it’s a good thing; Garrett shouldn’t run from it. Let’s not pretend for a moment that the VENCA wasn’t designed to keep uranium mining’s prospects (har har) alive.
That’s the whole reason why the authority was created.
…and it most certainly does keep uranium mining in play.
The picture above, by the way? Is an actual uranium mine in Canada — the McArthur River mine — that is about as green as they come, is an award-winning mine, completely safe, and very lucrative.
No reason in the world Virginia should run from that.
UPDATE: Well… looks like the Dittmar campaign noticed what we noticed:
In addition to supporting HB 1790 and SB 1138, Garrett has also accepted multiple campaign donations from Virginia Uranium of Chatham Virginia. [Virginia Public Access Project]
“Tom Garrett was a co-sponsor of this bill that was widely acknowledged as a mechanism to permit eventual uranium mining. On top of that, he’s taken money from Virginia Uranium,” said Tom Vandever, Dittmar campaign manager. “Sadly, this is a classic example of a career politician desperately dodging responsibility for his own actions.”
I’m sure Politifact will give all this a “mostly true” — though there’s no question here that Garrett is (or at least, was) a supporter of uranium mining’s interests at the General Assembly.