Radiation compensation act extended


A May 11 vote by the US House of Representatives that ensured that the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act would not sunset next month, as many feared, now gives activists another two years to broaden inclusion of those deserving compensation. 

The House vote supported a Senate bill introduced by Republican Mike Lee of Utah, which passed on May 6.

RECA only came about in 1990, and limits its compensation to uranium miners, millers and transporters, people at nuclear test sites and people in certain counties in Utah, Nevada and Arizona who lived downwind of the Nevada test sites.

Most shockingly, it has never included New Mexicans downwind of the very first US atomic test, Trinity, on July 16, 1945 in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

However, time is of the essence as many of those who should have been compensated have already died.

Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho, a Republican and New Mexico Democrat, Senator Ben Ray Luján, introduced a bill last September that would expand compensation under RECA to downwinders in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and the territory of Guam. Representative Teresa Leger Fernández (D-New Mexico) introduced similar legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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