A bill that would direct state agencies to evaluate the environmental threats posed by gold mining in Virginia was approved February 5 by the Virginia House of Delegates. The vote was 55 in favor, 45 against. HB 2213, a measure spearheaded by ABRA member Friends of Buckingham, was in response to a proposed gold mine in Buckingham County (click here and here for earlier ABRA Update stories; also, click here for further information about the issue on ABRA’s website). The bill would prohibit until July 1, 2024 the issuance of a permit for gold mining an area larger than 10 acres. The measure now heads to the Virginia Senate for its consideration.
The legislation is relevant for more than just Buckingham County, as the seam of gold underneath Buckingham County extends for a good portion of the state, north and south of Buckingham. As discussed in the previously referenced information links, gold mining operations are very threatening to the environment, particularly water quality. In the case of the proposed Buckingham mining site, water quality in the nearby James River would be seriously compromised should the mining operation be undertaken. ABRA members are strongly urged to contact their state Senators and urge their support for and enactment of HB 2213.
For more on why the legislation is needed, click here.