House leaders deny justice to radiation exposure victims, but the struggle continues December 14, 2023

Photo courtesy Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium

This year, PSR and allied organizations in the “RECA Working Group” have been fighting to expand and extend health benefits to impacted communities from U.S. nuclear weapons development and testing.  We won a significant, bipartisan victory when the U.S. Senate — on July 27 — voted 61 to 37 for an amendment to greatly expand the reach and impact of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA).  On behalf of impacted residents in their states, Senators Ben Ray Lujan (D-New Mexico), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) and Michael Crapo (R-Idaho) championed this amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. But House of Representatives  leaders stripped these provisions from the budget. Although the RECA expansion did not survive House-Senate conference this year, PSR and allied groups will redouble our efforts to provide justice for impacted communities before the RECA program expires altogether in May, 2024. 

On November 2, in recognition of her tireless efforts on behalf of New Mexico Downwinders, PSR bestowed a Health Hero award upon Tina Cordova, cofounder of Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium. Cordova was quoted in Responsible Statecraft: “I wouldn’t be allowed to recklessly harm other people and walk away from responsibility for that. It’s like driving drunk and plowing into a van full of people and injuring them, and then telling the court that I simply don’t have the resources to take care of the mess I’ve made.”

Read Cordova’s remarks accepting the PSR award

Watch a 1.5 minute video with Downwinder testimonies

Senator Lujan’s Dec. 12 remarks on the floor of the Senate

Senator Hawley’s Dec. 12 remarks on the Senate floor

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