At a public meeting in Chatham, Virginia, a few days ago, one environemtnal protester promised to do "whatever it takes" to prevent Virginia from lifting its moratorium on uranium mining, "all the way to civil disobedience." Another said allowing the uranium to be mined would amount to "selective regional human sacrifice." If uranium mining is safe, writes A. Barton Hinkle, then such histrionics look little different from the frightened rage of 17th-century villagers getting ready to burn a suspected witch. But if mining is as dangerous as the demonstrators contend, then their outrage is perfectly reasonable. Which is it?
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