April 28, 2005

DELEGATION: CURRENT RECA PROGRAM NOT EQUITABLE

NAS report recommends Congress revamp RECA, base claims on science

Washington, DC â?? The Idaho congressional delegation reacted today to the long-awaited release of the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) report on the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA). The report, released late this afternoon, makes a series of recommendations for Congress that could lead to a nationwide, science-based expansion of the RECA. The delegation concurs with the reportâ??s conclusion that the present RECA program is not equitable and that any future program should be based on the principle that â??like cases are treated alike.â?? While the report did establish that a science-based approach would likely result in few successful future claims, it suggested that Congress establish the probability level that would determine eligibility for compensation under a new nationwide program. â??The NAS has put together a comprehensive review with conclusions and recommendations for Congress regarding the RECA program,â?? Senator Mike Crapo said. â??It recognizes that effects from radiation fallout are not limited by arbitrary political boundariesâ??something Idahoans already knew. The report presents a challenge in that it recommends drastically altering the RECA program as it is currently configured. That recommendation does not offer the immediate relief sought by Idahoans. This report's release marks the beginning of a new chapter for this issue and I remain committed to assisting those in Idaho who deserve compensation.â?? Senator Larry Craig said, â??The Report affirms my contention that winds know no political boundaries. Limiting eligibility to certain counties is unwise - Idahoans deserve an opportunity to be considered for compensation. So, I will support Senator Crapo in an effort to assist Idahoans who were harmed by the fallout from nuclear weapons testing.â?? â??For Idaho's downwinders, this report is a mix of both positive and disappointing news,â?? said Representative Mike Simpson. â??While the report clearly states that any new effort to expand RECA must be more equitable than the current program, it also seems to indicate that a new science-based, nationwide program would establish a more restrictive standard for awarding compensation. The Committee has clearly produced an exhaustive analysis of the program and I commend them for the work they put into this report. I also want to commend my colleague, Senator Mike Crapo, for his strong leadership and commitment to this issue. I look forward to learning of his intentions and working with him on this important issue.â?? Representative C.L. â??Butchâ?? Otter said, â??Government must be accountable for the damage it does to any of its citizens, wherever they live. However, this report provides some hard scientific realities about the basis for compensation in Idaho and nationwide. While those realities may be difficult for Idahoans to accept, I'm grateful for the work that's been done to establish the facts and give voice to the concerns of our people. Idahoans who believe they were hurt as a result of our government's actions continue to deserve our advocacy in this process, and I appreciate Senator Crapo's leadership in that regard.â?? The report was prepared by the National Research Council of the NAS and was due to be reported to Congress no later than June 30, 2005. The full 372-page report is available on the National Academies of Scienceâ??s website, http://www.nationalacademies.org. Click here for audio of Mike's Reaction to NAS Report on April 28: .mp3 To directly link to this news release please use the following address: https://www.crapo.senate.gov/media/newsreleases/release_full.cfm?id=237049