FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Albuquerque, NM – New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez wrote a letter to Congressional leaders, and gathered support from 13 other Attorneys General around the nation, to urge Congress to pass the Senate-approved bipartisan amendment to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), expanding coverage and benefits to thousands of individuals across the country who have suffered due to radioactive exposure as a result of nuclear weapons testing on United States soil.
“When Congress passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act residents downwind of the Trinity Test site in Otero County New Mexico were excluded from recognition and compensation. Thanks to the bipartisan efforts of Senator Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) and Senator Mike Crapo (R–ID), we finally have an opportunity to right this historic wrong,” said AG Torrez.
RECA originally provided coverage and benefits for specific individuals exposed to radiation, especially to uranium mine workers and other affected groups that were either on or near test sites. While RECA addressed radiation exposure to a specific group of downwinders, our letter is requesting RECA to expand to the many other downwinders across the nation that were also exposed to radioactive materials due to nuclear testing.
As it currently stands, many downwinders in New Mexico, Idaho, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Montana, and Guam are not included within RECA and therefore do not benefit from RECA’s coverage. The Center for Disease and Control has reported in the past that those located near nuclear testing sites had exposure rates measured “at levels 10,000 higher than currently allowed.”
The 13 states who signed on to support AG Torrez’s efforts are Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia.
Attorney General Torrez recently wrote and published an opinion piece about his family’s personal experience being downwind from the Trinity nuclear test site. The piece was published in The Albuquerque Journal and can be found here.
A copy of the letter to Congressional leaders is below.