"WASHINGTON - U.S. Supreme Court justices, hearing a challenge to Virginia’s moratorium on uranium mining, struggled on Monday over how far states can go to ban mining of the radioactive metal for public health reasons before overstepping federal law.
The justices heard an hour of arguments in an appeal by a company called Virginia Uranium, Inc seeking to revive a lawsuit thrown out by a lower court that aimed to invalidate Virginia’s ban, enacted in 1982. The company has said that ban conflicts with a federal law regulating nuclear power generation.
At the center of the dispute is the largest-known U.S. uranium deposit, located beneath a privately owned estate in Pittsylvania County in southern Virginia, near the North Carolina border. The company, a subsidiary of Vancouver, British Columbia-based Virginia Energy Resources (VUI.V), is seeking to exploit the deposit, valued at about $6 billion."