- For Immediate Release -

September 07, 2001

THE WESTERN STATES RECA REFORM COALITION

Contacts:

BUSH ABANDONING R.E.C.A.

- While setting aside $30M to start new uranium mining! -

Last year, Congress clearly mandated payments under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act to former uranium miners, workers and Downwinders," said Melton Martinez, President of Eastern Navajo Uranium Workers. But now, the government is denying and delaying justice by changing the rules, and have even stated clearly their priority constituents. Martinez was referring to a bill introduced by Rep Wilson (R-NM), House Energy Bill (HR4) that would give $30 million dollars to companies to start uranium mining, in the same area, where ill miners denied compensation live.

Those who ignore mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them. This seems to be what the Bush administration is doing in failing to recognize the injuries and injustices to the previous generation of uranium miners, by supporting new mining ventures without correcting old wrongs. Where is the compassion in even considering inflecting the same harm on next generation without a thought for those presently suffering?

Hazel Merritt, President of Utah Navajo Downwinders said, "Our compassionate conservative is delaying legislation to constituents least able to fight back, due to their illnesses and being elders. I guess this compassion is only reserved for the corporations." Merritt continued, "All we ask is for our elected leaders to obey the laws governing the RECA compensation program so that some of our people can still receive the benefits due them."†

JUSTICE, again being denied by changing the rules, by not issuing required regulations, and the continued manipulation of the RECA budget is a sad chapter documenting the ongoing legacy of uranium mining in the Four Corners statesÖ. Justice delayed is Justice denied!

Edward L. Brickey, President Colorado Uranium Workers Council and Western States R.E.C.A. Reform Coalition Co-Chair said, "The law said that the D.O.J. had 180 days to produce the rules and regulations for public law 106-245. That time was up January 10, 2001. It is 8 months overdue. So, does that not make our government in contempt of the law? Why do we allow them to make a mockery of our system of government? Is there any one held accountable for the job they should do for the citizens of this nation? Donít they understand the mental anguish and stress they are putting on our sick and elders? I hope and pray, as many do, Bush will guarantee that the law will be upheld, and justice finally served for the sick and dying radiation victims of our nation."

The Western States RECA Reform Coalition consists of representatives of grassroots radiation victimís organizations from the states of NM, CO, AZ & UT working together in a force uniting people of different ethnic, geographic, religious and political backgrounds. Organizations includes: Colorado Plateau Uranium Workers, Colorado Uranium Workers Council, Navajo RECA Reform Working Group, Utah Navajo Downwinders, Northern Arizona Navajo Downwinders, Eastern Navajo Uranium Workers, Lukachukai Uranium Workers, Churchrock Uranium Workers and Dine' CARE.