Press Release

Bipartisan bill prohibiting the use of cyanide in mining heads to House of Delegates for consideration

The legislation would prevent the well-documented threats of cyanide use to drinking water sources 

February 1, 2023 

Stephanie Rinaldi, Press Pause Coalition,, 434-270-0706

Richmond, VA — HB 1722, a bill that would prohibit the use of cyanide in industrial mineral mining operations, was reported with overwhelming bipartisan support to the full House of Delegates by the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee. 

The legislation, introduced by Del. Shelly Simonds (HD-94) and co-patroned by Del. James Edmunds (HD-60), responds to a study overseen by members of the Youngkin Administration and performed by the National Academies of Sciences, Medicine and Engineering (NASEM). The study found that “Virginia’s regulations are insufficient to protect against the potential impacts of gold mining.” A state agency committee, which released a companion report to the NASEM study, confirmed that regulations are not adequate for large-scale gold mining in Virginia. 

The bill’s passage in the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources was a welcome message from legislators that they are taking seriously the findings of the NASEM study, which documented the threats to Virginians’ drinking water from cyanide in industrial gold mining.  The passage of the legislation is urgently needed due to a foreign company currently exploring for potential industrial gold and metal mining locations in multiple Virginia counties.  HB 1722 now heads to the full House of Delegates for consideration.

“What a great moment to have members of the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources come together to pass this common sense bill,” said Del. Shelly Simonds (HD94). “HB1722 is a critical step in addressing concerns raised by the NASEM study that international companies could come here to mine our gold and metal deposits when we don’t have proper regulations in place.  As the bill moves to the full House of Delegates, I hope we can all agree that cyanide has no business being anywhere near the drinking water of Virginia families.”

Del. James Edmunds (HD-60) said: “I appreciate Delegate Simonds’ efforts to keep our groundwater clean, and I share her passion for doing so.  There is no place for cyanide in mining and I am pleased that members of the General Assembly agree.” 

Stephanie Rinaldi, coordinator of the Press Pause Coalition and a member of the state agency committee said: “I am grateful to all the delegates who supported this bill by voting to report it to the full house, where I hope it will succeed. Bipartisan votes like this make me proud to be a Virginian, and give me hope that our drinking water will continue to be protected from toxic pollutants.” 

“Protecting Virginia’s drinking water is paramount,” said Jessica Sims, Virginia Field Coordinator for Appalachian Voices. “HB 1722 addresses the very specific, dangerous threat of cyanide — a toxic substance that should be nowhere near Virginia’s water resources.”


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