Crapo in Blackfoot Friday

Staff Writer

Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo will be in southeastern Idaho this week to discuss issues with Idahoans during three town meetings. Crapo has been taking about the nation’s $19 trillion debt and taking questions during many stops around the state. His schedule this week includes visits to Blackfoot on Friday at 4 p.m. at Blackfoot City Hall and Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Fort Hall at the Tribal Council Chambers on Pima Drive.
One of the subjects the Senator may discuss is his recent bipartisan effort with a group of senators this week in renewing their efforts to expand restitution for victims of radiation exposure related to U.S. nuclear arms testing in the 1950s and 1960s.
As a part of that effort, Crapo introduced S. 331, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), which seeks to expand RECA eligibility to affected individuals in Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.
Since its creation in 1990, RECA was designed to assist those directly affected by above-ground nuclear testing or work in uranium mines in the United States, but limited to individuals in certain counties in Utah, Colorado and Arizona. Known as “downwinders”, these Americans suffered from cancer and other various health issues as a result of radiation exposure.
In 2005, the National Academy of Sciences released a report calling on Congress to establish new scientific criteria for decisions about awarding federal compensation under RECA, arguing that states far from the original Nevada test site were not only exposed to radiation, but also may have been exposed to much higher levels than those in currently eligible areas. Crapo has since then introduced or co-sponsored legislation seven times to amend the program.
“Idaho communities and individuals who have been adversely affected by our nation’s weapons programs must be justly and sufficiently compensated by the federal government,” said Crapo. “I recognize the burden placed upon cancer patients and their families to pay for the expensive regimen of treatments this disease requires, and this legislation is an important step in helping Idahoans get the care they need and deserve.”