Virginia Uranium Mining Ban Is Outdated; Safe Production Will Create Jobs

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Byline: James M. Taylor, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Here are some fanciful questions for you: How would Alaskans feel about state legislation to ban oil production? How would West Virginians feel about state legislation to ban coal production? How would Texans feel about state legislation to ban natural gas production?The answers to these questions are obvious. Energy production creates wealth, jobs and better living standards. None of these states would support legislation to ban energy production. Why, then, should Virginia, the state with the largest uranium deposit in the nation, continue to ban uranium production?Energy powers our modern economy and enables us to live in comfort and prosperity inconceivable a mere 100 years ago. States that have abundant energy resources are further blessed with additional economic benefits from bringing energy resources to market.Around the globe, desert nations that otherwise would wallow in poverty boast impressive economies based on oil production. Even in the United States, the economic benefits of energy production are undeniable. Thanks to increasing oil production, North Dakota kept its unemployment rate at less than 4.3 percent throughout the Great Recession. Texas, which leads the nation in oil and natural gas production, was responsible for nearly 40 percent of the U.S. jobs created as the nation struggled to emerge from the recession.It would be inconceivable for Alaska to ban oil production, for West Virginia to ban coal mining or for Texas to ban natural gas production. It defies logic for Virginia to continue banning uranium production.Unfortunately, the same activists who perpetually and without justification seek to shut down coal mining, oil drilling and natural gas production are fighting tooth-and-nail to preserve Virginia's outdated moratorium on uranium mining. Uranium is being mined safely throughout the United States and around the world. Study after study has shown that the modern uranium mining industry looks nothing like it did 50 years ago when there were zero regulations or environmental standards. …