Today, the House Judiciary Committee passed Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04) and Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández’s (NM-03) bipartisan Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) Amendments of 2021, legislation to expand support for those who have suffered from cancers and other diseases related to fallout from above-ground nuclear weapons testing during the Cold War period of the 1950s and 1960s.
“For almost 50 years, the U.S. conducted over 200 above-ground nuclear weapons tests, blanketing communities in Utah and many western states with harmful radioactive material,” said Rep. Owens. “On behalf of Downwinders in Utah’s Fourth District, I’m proud to work with Rep. Leger-Fernandez to expand the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act and right the wrongs that destroyed the lives of countless innocent Americans. Legislation championed in 1990 by Senator Orrin Hatch was an important step in correcting the problem caused by the federal government, but this compensation ends next year, and too many Utahns will be left behind.”
Specifically, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2021 would:
Extend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Trust Fund from July 10, 2022, until 19 years after enactment of the legislation.
Expand eligibility for compensation payments to cover additional diseases and downwinder communities, including Utah.
Expand eligibility for compensation payments to cover uranium core drillers and DOE mediation workers.
Increase compensation payments to $150,000.
Direct HHS to establish a grant program to study the epidemiological impacts of uranium milling and mining.