2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: marylia@earthlink.net
Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2000 09:16:35 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] sick workers wait
Sick Workers Wait

by Marylia Kelley
from Tri-Valley CAREs' October 2000 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

While throwing millions more at NIF, the Conference Committee remains mired
in debate over whether to compensate the workers made ill by exposure to
toxic and radioactive materials in the nation's bomb factories and labs.

Some workers suffered acute exposure, some chronic. Some were "dosed" with
excess radioactivity, some by hazardous chemicals. What they have in common
is that they are sick and dying, and some are already dead. Many have
problems with insurance and medical bills, leaving little to bequeath to a
surviving spouse.

Earlier this year, DOE Secretary Bill Richardson reversed over a
half-century of official agency denial, admitting that atomic workers had
been put in harms way. The DOE proposed compensation for an estimated 3,000
past and present employees, a number that we said accounted for only a
fraction of those made ill. Still, it represented an historic first step.
(See our May 2000 Citizen's Watch for details on DOE's plan.)

Now, Congress appears reluctant to find even the start-up funding needed
for the program. For weeks, conferees have debated the issue without
resolution. Reportedly, the House Republicans on the Conference Committee
are balking at the proposal's price tag of $1.7 billion over ten years.

State governors intensified a letter writing campaign in support of a
compensation bill. Most recently, Gov. Gary Johnson (R-NV) wrote and urged
passage of the proposal, calling it "long deserved." Gov. Gary Locke (D-WA)
also weighed in on behalf of the program earlier in the week. The governors
from Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and So. Carolina have sent
missives to the Committee as well.

Meanwhile, the sick workers wait... and die.

Marylia Kelley
Tri-Valley CAREs
(Communities Against a Radioactive Environment)
2582 Old First Street
Livermore, CA USA 94550

<http://www.igc.org/tvc/> - is our web site, please visit us there!

(925) 443-7148 - is our phone
(925) 443-0177 - is our fax

Working for peace, justice and a healthy environment since 1983, Tri-Valley
CAREs has been a member of the nation-wide Alliance for Nuclear
Accountability in the U.S. since 1989, and is a co-founding member of the
Abolition 2000 global network for the elimination of nuclear weapons, the
U.S. Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and the Back From the Brink
campaign to get nuclear weapons taken off hair-trigger alert.

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