Is Bolling Gearing Up?

Uranium Move Is Curious

Posted: December 21, 2012

Further indication that high-level politics in Virginia are poised to become even messier — and that Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling is not ready to go gently into that good night — registered as apparent last Friday in Danville.

Mr. Bolling, still Gov. McDonnell’s “jobs chief” (nominally at least), was in town to put his personal quietus on an initiative that, in theory, would create hundreds of jobs in economically strapped Southside. Virginia Uranium plans to mine the nation’s biggest lode of that radioactive element deep in the Pittsylvania County countryside.

Though a 30-year ban on uranium mining still holds sway, Mr. McDonnell empaneled a “working group” to determine whether the element can be safely mined, and state Sen. John Watkins has a bill in the works to establish rules and standard for said mining. In essence, Mr. Bolling, who recently suspended his GOP gubernatorial run, undercut them both by stating his opposition to lifting the ban.

The company’s plans have engendered controversy — Mr. Bolling was surrounded by local politicians and business leaders also opposing the initiative — but the lieutenant governor’s proactive stance (and pre-emptive strike?) produced even more. On the political front, that is.

There’s little love lost between Mr. Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the party’s presumptive gubernatorial choice. Was Friday’s announcement the first salvo of an independent campaign for the state’s top office?

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