Fairfax County Board Chairman John F. Herrity was angered last week when representatives of a New-York based uranium corporation failed to appear before the board, as Herrity says they had promised to do.

Marline Uranium Corp. has been leasing thousands of acres in Virginia for uranium exploration. Herrity says mining could pollute Northern Virginia's water. Recently Marline said it has abandoned Northern Virginia because it is unlikely to yield uranium, but Herrity says the company is just lying low until the General Assembly lifts a moratorium on mining.

Monday the company was supposed to explain its position to the county board, but a secretary for company vice president Norman W. Reynolds called to say he couldn't come. Herrity says other representatives were nonetheless expected. He says the non-appearance has fueled his distrust and spurred his determination to convince local governments in the region to chip in to pay a consultant to see if there really is uranium in the hills to the west. Herrity added he would like to maintain the moratorium on mining until Marline executives "die of old age."

A spokeswoman for Marline said the county was notified that scheduling conflicts would prevent company representatives from appearing, and she said she regretted any misunderstanding.