RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- As the debate over uranium mining heads to the legislature, a new group has been created supporting Virginia's decades-old ban on mining the radioactive ore. made its debut Monday. Its organizers say it represents more than 50 municipalities and groups. They include the cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach, the Southern Environmental Law Center and other groups that have previously stated their opposition to uranium mining.

The new group announced its creation just one hour before the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission was to take up uranium mining. It is expected to offer a recommendation on whether the General Assembly should begin developing regulations for uranium mining. The legislature convenes on Wednesday.

Virginia Uranium Inc. has proposed tapping a 119-million-pound deposit of the ore in Pittsylvania County.