The uranium companies argue mining would create jobs. But a consortium of anti-uranium mining groups is stepping up a campaign to inform residents and lawmakers about the risks.
Even if the mining were confined to Pittsylvania County, members of the "Keep the Ban" coalition say it would still have negative impacts on the entire region. Naomi Hodge-Muse says, for instance, Martinsville is just 20 miles from the proposed mining area.
"There is just too many questions of potential risk of radioactive and toxic materials contaminating our streams, rivers, and drinking water," says Hodge-Muse.
Virginia Beach residents are concerned since the city’s drinking water comes from Lake Gaston -- downstream from the site.
The coalition says the mining industry is pushing to get the ban lifted before studies on the uranium deposits are completed. One of those studies is being conducted by the National Academy of Science, and is expected to be complete by the end of 2011.