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Senate Proceeding on Apr 19th, 2010 :: 0:51:45 to 1:01:20
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Tom Udall

0:51:40 to 0:52:03( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator mr. udall: mr. presidenti ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. yew yew i rise --

Tom Udall

0:51:45 to 1:01:20( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Tom Udall

Tom Udall

0:52:04 to 0:52:24( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: mr. udall -- i rise to discuss rica, first introduced in this body 21 years ago today, proposed by the senator from utah, orrin hatch, this original legislation was a monumental step in recognizing some of the unheralded victims of the cold war era. as the united states government

Tom Udall

0:52:25 to 0:52:48( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: built up its cold war nuclear arsenal during the mid20th century, many americans paid the price with their health. some were sickened through exposure to above-ground atomic weapons tests. others were exposed to heavy doses of radiation from working in the uranium ming industry.

Tom Udall

0:52:49 to 0:53:09( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: all the while the government was slow to implement federal protections. a result, a generation of americans who worked in the mines or lived near testing sites became sickith serious diseases like lung cancer and kidney disease and many others. much of the united states

Tom Udall

0:53:10 to 0:53:32( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: uranium development occurred on the navajo nation. that's where jobs in the mines and mills drew workers from the surrounding rural areas. these workers and much of the country were unaware of the dangers of radiation exposure, and this was despite reports from the european mining

Tom Udall

0:53:33 to 0:53:54( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: industry indicating that uranium mining led to high rates of lung cancer. there should have been a warning call. there should have been a wake-up call but there wasn't. in the ensuing years, rates of lung cancer among navajo indians went from disproportionately low to disproportionately high

Tom Udall

0:53:55 to 0:54:17( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: compared with the rest of the u.s. population. this was clearly a result of uranium development and the related radiation exposure. in addition to lung cancer, numerous other illnesses began to emerge in the men and women who worked in the uranium mining industry. these individuals were not

Tom Udall

0:54:18 to 0:54:39( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: limited to the navajo nation. in my home state of new mexico, the pueblo of laguna was home to the nation's largest open-pit uranium mine. workers from across the state came to the mines, especially from the economically struggling communities of rural new mexico.

Tom Udall

0:54:40 to 0:55:01( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: in the late 1970, my father, stewart udall, took up the fight for these workers. the in 1979 my father filed 32 claims against the department of energy on behalf of widows of deceased navajo uranium miners. in many ways this marked the beginning of theight for compensation for all uranium workers.

Tom Udall

0:55:02 to 0:55:23( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: i remember working those years with my whole family to collect information and push for recognition. it was a family effort to fight for justice. and for me, it continues to be a family priority. ten years later the original rica legislation was introduced in t united states senate.

Tom Udall

0:55:24 to 0:55:46( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: it passed in 1990, giving a level of restitution to sick miners and mills as well as -- miners and millers as well as individuals livingownwind of nuclear tests. amendments to rica have occurred over the ensuing decades, most significantly in 2000. that's when the act was expanded

Tom Udall

0:55:47 to 0:56:07( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: to include mill workers and/ore transporters and expand downwind counties, among other things. today with senators jef bingaman, my crapo, michael bennet and james risch, i introduce a piece of legislation that takes the next step that addresses the remaining

Tom Udall

0:56:08 to 0:56:30( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: shortfalls in the uranium exposure compensation act. i would like to highlight some of the provisions of our bill. first the inclusion of post1971 uranium miners and wor qualified claimants. while the federal government ceased purchase of domestic uranium in 1971, implementation

Tom Udall

0:56:31 to 0:56:53( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: of federal work safety standards was slow and regulation of mines was poor. as a result, thousands of miners and millers were never made aware of the dangers of the yellowcake they handled on a regular basis. in recent surveys, the majority of uranium workers from this period report that they did not have showers or wash basins in

Tom Udall

0:56:54 to 0:57:14( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: the mines where they worked. they often took contaminated clothing home for laundry, unaware of the hazards and with no other option for cleaning. many also report that ventilation to prevent unnecessary exposure was not provided in their work areas. today these workers continue to

Tom Udall

0:57:15 to 0:57:37( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: suffer and die from ill innocences related -- from illnesses related to radiation exposure. but because their employment dates began after 1971, they have no opportunity for compensation. our bill changes that. if the measure passes, individuals working from 1971

Tom Udall

0:57:38 to 0:57:59( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: until 1990 will qualify to claim mpensation for exposure-related diseases. the bill we're introducing today would also expand the geographic areas that qualify for downwind compensation to include new mexico, idaho, montana, colorado, and guam.

Tom Udall

0:58:00 to 0:58:23( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: and for the first time bill recognizes downwind exposure from the trinity site in new mexico. this legislation would raise compensation levels for those exposed as a result of above-ground weapons tests. this would make their compensation consistent with their counterparts who worked in the mines and mills.

Tom Udall

0:58:24 to 0:58:46( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: the bill would also facilitate epidemiological research on the impacts of uranium developnt on communities and families of ewing rain up-- uranium workers. it authorizes funding fortunate institute of environmental health sciences to award grants to universities and nonprofits to carry out such research. we are seeking to broaden the

Tom Udall

0:58:47 to 0:59:09( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: use of affidavits to substantiate employment history in residents in an aaffected area. many who have suffered as a result of uranium development not have the documentation to prove their exposure. often miles and mills did not keep -- often mines and mills

Tom Udall

0:59:10 to 0:59:31( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: did not keep proper documentation of their workers. the bill would allow individuals to combine their time worked in multiple positions to meet the work time requirements for compensation in the original rica legislation. finally, this legislation would allow miners to be compensated for kidney disease, and it would

Tom Udall

0:59:32 to 0:59:52( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: allow core drillers to join miners, millers and ore transporters on the list of yew rain yam workers who qualify for compensation under the act. uranium development under the

Tom Udall

0:59:53 to 1:00:13( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: cold ore era left a gruesome legacy in the community. for two decades the united states has tried t compensate in some way for the sickness and loss of life. today we're taking the next step to close this sad chapter in history and to improve the reach of compassion and compensation to those americans who have

Tom Udall

1:00:14 to 1:00:36( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: suffered but have not qualified under rica in its current form. in introducing this legislation, i'd like to honor all those who continue to suffer from deadly illnesses as a result of radiation exposure, but do not qualify for compensation. especially those uranium workers who began employment after 1971

Tom Udall

1:00:37 to 1:00:59( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: and thus did not qualify for rica. i look forward to working with my colleagues to recognize these individuals and expand rica to inude all who are justified in receiving radiation exposure compensation. and i thank you, mr. president,

Tom Udall

1:01:04 to 1:01:20( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: and i yield t the presiding officer: the senator from mr. grassley: first of all, i need to make an inquiry. i don't know what the order is for the senate, but i was going to speak on one of the nominations that's going to be before the senate shortly.

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