The NCCAUM was formed in 2012 to give a voice to those in North Carolina in response to proposed uranium mining in Coles Hill, Virginia. While Virginia has had a moratorium on uranium mining for a number of years, recently supporters of uranium mining have been lobbying the Virginia Legislature to lift the ban.
The three lake system that includes Kerr Lake, Lake Gaston, and Roanoke Rapids Lake was built on the Roanoke River in the 1960s primarily for flood control and for hydro-electic power generation. However, these lakes provide many more benefits to the region and the local economy. Chief among these are safe drinking water and recreational use such as fishing, boating, and swimming. The recreational uses in particular are responsible for much of the economic development and tax base for the jurisdictions around these lakes.
There are 1.9 million people living downstream from the proposed mining site that draw their drinking water from the Roanoke River, including seven North Carolina counties and the tidewater region of Virginia Beach which includes our military personnel stationed there. The safety of drinking water and the health of the people that live in this region are a major concern.
The mouth of the Roanoke River empties into the Albemarle Sound and is its major souce of fresh water. The Albemarle is an important fishery and is where many of the fish that are important to the North Carolina commercial fishing industry are spawned. No studies have been done to evaluate the potential impact of a uranium mining spill on the fisheries in the Albemarle and adjacent estuaries or on the economic activity in the surrounding counties, including the Outer Banks.