Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Bill Introduced Yesterday To Radically Change RECA Program

Well, folks, it looks like Congressman Franks isn’t the only politician wanting change to the RECA (“Downwinder”) program. Yesterday, Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch introduced the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2010, which included some ground-breaking changes to the program.

The most exciting change would be the inclusion of all of Arizona in the program, along with all of Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Idaho, Montana and Colorado. Currently, only 21 counties in Arizona, Nevada and Utah are covered, and portions of counties (like Mohave County in Arizona and Clark County in Nevada).

The RECA Amendments of 2010 would further widen qualifications for compensation for radiation exposure; would expand the list of compensable diseases, would qualify post-1971 uranium workers for compensation and equalize compensation for all claimants to $150,000. This would mean that Downwinder victims and their survivors would receive triple the amount they are currently receiving ($50,000). The changes would also include funding for an epidemiological study of the health impacts on families of uranium workers and residents of uranium development communities.

Crapo and Risch were joined by Demcocratic Senators Tom Udall and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico and Colorado Democrats Michael Bennet and Mark Udall. Companion legislation will be introduced in the House this week by Representative Ben Ray Luján, Democrat, New Mexico.

In a statement released by Senator Crapo, he states, “The victims of this testing have waited years for just compensation, and the cruel irony is that the federal government has postponed action for so long that many aren’t living to see this bill passed. I remain optimistic that expanding the scope and reach of this program can succeed. It is the right thing to do because there are so many people affected throughout the region.”

As soon as the full text of the bill is available, I will be posting it here. Check back frequently for updates.

1 comment:

  1. Franks introduced '''resolution # 4712, for the House.
    McCain (AZ) introduced Senate Bill # 3270

    Udall - Tom (NM) and Mark (CO)along with Bingham (NM)and Bennett (C)) introduced SB 3224.

    Lujan -(NM) introduced HB 5119..

    Many on the bandwagon..... Gloria Richhart
    Downwinders of Mohave County of Arizona