March 16, 2006

Noting RECA Success May Help Downwinders

Crapo, Craig, Burns applaud Hatchâ??s update on planâ??s benefits; work toward hearing on legislation

Washington, DC â?? Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Larry Craig (R-Idaho) and Conrad Burns (R-Montana) are complimenting former Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatchâ??s efforts to update the benefits that residents of his state are receiving under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA). Hatch, in a news release, outlined the benefits to residents in his state on the 10-year anniversary of their inclusion in the RECA program. The RECA program compensates victims who received fallout from nuclear testing in Nevada during the 1950s and 1960s, once the states and areas are declared eligible for inclusion in the program. Crapo, Craig and Burns have introduced S. 2132, which would make residents of Idaho and Montana eligible for inclusion under RECA.â??Although studies show the top five counties in the nation that were exposed to radiation lie in Idaho and Montana, those states have not been included in RECA,â?? Crapo said. â??We are hopeful for a hearing on our legislation to bring compensation to the people of Idaho and Montana in the same way Senator Hatch was able to make the case for his constituents in Utah.â?? â??Although more than 15,000 recipients of more than $1 billion received their fair compensation from the federal government thanks to Senator Hatch, geographic borders have caused Idaho and Montana residents to be left behind,â?? said Craig. â??This is an obvious oversight that we are working to correct, and that we hope we will be able to enlist Senator Hatch to support.â??â??Senator Hatch was instrumental in the creation of RECA,â?? said Burns. â??Iâ??m happy to be working with him along with Senators Crapo and Craig to update this legislation to account for new scientific evidence that the radioactive byproducts of above-ground nuclear testing spread a lot further than the local areas in Utah, Arizona and Nevada.â??â??We know you understand that, like the citizens of Utah, Nevada and Arizona, the people of Montana and Idaho arenâ??t seeking an entitlement program,â?? the Senators said. â??This issue is about justice and, as you rightfully maintained while the people of Utah waited for ten years for the Senate to take up their cause and enact RECA, justice delayed is justice denied.â?? Presently, residents of Utah, Arizona, and Nevada are eligible for $50,000 payments under RECA. â??We congratulate you on this important milestone and respectfully request your assistance in continuing to seek protection for Americans who have been exposed to radiation, by expanding RECA coverage to constituents in our respective states,â?? the Senators concluded.