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11/4/2013 Gallup Independent Battle for amendments to RECA law continues.doc

11/4/2013 Gallup Independent Battle for amendments to RECA law continues.doc

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Published by Marsha Monestersky
WINDOW ROCK– Norris Nez, a traditional Navajo medicine man, lives in the area of Coalmine Mesa by the Hosteen Nez uranium mine at Gold Spring. “I used to haul truckloads of uranium for processing to Winslow, Gallup, Shiprock and Blanding. The only compensation my family got was some groceries,” he once testified....
WINDOW ROCK– Norris Nez, a traditional Navajo medicine man, lives in the area of Coalmine Mesa by the Hosteen Nez uranium mine at Gold Spring. “I used to haul truckloads of uranium for processing to Winslow, Gallup, Shiprock and Blanding. The only compensation my family got was some groceries,” he once testified....

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Published by: Marsha Monestersky on Nov 05, 2013
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07/21/2014

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Battle for amendments to RECA law continues
By Kathy HelmsGallup Independent Dine Bureaunavajo!"allupindependent#com$I%D&$ R&CK ' %orris %e() a traditional %avajo medicine man) lives in the area of Coalmine *esa +y the Hosteen %e( uranium mine at Gold ,prin"# -I used to haul truc.loads of uranium for processin" to $inslow) Gallup) ,hiproc. and Blandin"# /he only compensation my family "ot was some "roceries)0 he once testified#/he mine operated from 12 to 123) first as Hosteen %e( *inin" from 12 to 124) and 5nited E6ploration in 123# /otal production volume was 3 tons) accordin" to documents from the 5#,# Environmental 7rotection A"ency#  %e( said he drove for the mines for at least two years# -He hauled uranium) he slept in the pits) he8s eaten in the pits for all those years# He feels ill)0 and now that it is .nown that many people who wor.ed for the uranium mines have +ecome ill) he feels that could +e to +lame) accordin" to 9arry Gordy of Cameron) who translated for %e(# -He said it8s li.e a medicine# It8s really stron" and he can feel it) +ut he hasn8t had a doctor completely evaluate him +ecause) throu"h their eyes) there8s no paperwor. that he8s ever wor.ed or +een around uranium#0
Contaminants still there
Because %e(8s wor. record is none6istent) even if he has a compensa+le illness under the federal Radiation E6posure Compensation Act ' which is desi"ned to compensate individuals who wor.ed in the uranium industry prior to Dec# :) 1; ' he can8t "et compensation +ecause of the
 
missin" paper trail#<or 4= years) radioactive clouds drifted across the 5nited ,tates leavin" a trail of fallout from a+ove>"round atomic testin" at %evada /est ,ite# /he %avajo %ation was a hot spot for fallout on numerous occasions in the 12=s ' three times just in *arch 122 alone ' and %e( said contamination from the +lasts hasn8t "one away#-/hey put it in the atmosphere and we8re still +reathin" it# Also) thin"s flyin" in the air have contaminated the atmosphere# It has affected the +reathin" and the esopha"us and down into your lun"s# ,o there8s a lot of thin"s that we still have to cover and we need to hold ?prayer@ meetin"s for# /hose are some of the thin"s that people don8t tal. a+out)0 %e( said#
Three years & counting
# Keith Killian of the Killian Davis Richter  *ayle law firm in Grand unction) Colo#) has spent years lo++yin" on +ehalf of the %avajo %ation for amendments to the Radiation E6posure Compensation Act# Killian and senior parale"al ennifer *cCall were scheduled to present a RECA update last $ednesday to the %avajo %ation Council8s Health) Education and Human ,ervices Committee) however) their plane was "rounded due to en"ine trou+le so the  presentation had to +e postponed#,ince the RECA Amendments of 4=: were introduced in April +y ,en# /om 5dall and Rep# Ben Ray 9ujan r#) the +ill has +een referred to the udiciary Committee in the ,enate) and three committees in the House) which then referred it to three su+committees# &n uly ) it moved from the House Education and the $or.force Committee to the ,u+committee on $or.force 7rotections) where) on &ct# ) it "ained three cosponsors Reps# Carol ,hea>7orter) D>%#H#) Dina /itus) D>%ev#) and 7aul /on.o) D>%##In addition) Rep# ,tevan 7earce) R>%#*#) 4
nd
 District) +ecame a cosponsor in *ay) followed +y Rep# *ichelle 9ujan Grisham) D>%#*#) 
st
 District) in une) and Ed 7erlmutter) D>Colo#) in Au"ust# -/he new le"islation was first introduced in 4==) so it8s +een three years now# Each year) /om 5dall and Ben Ray 9ujan have introduced it) and each year there have +een all these constraints on the +ud"et# ,o this year is +etter than it was in 4==) 8 and 84)0 Killian said#-$ill it passF $e don8t .now# /o +e honest with you) it has to do with whether we8re financially capa+le of doin" it and whether it8s politically accepta+le# <rom a political standpoint) it8s nice to have the <our Corners states +asically pitchin" in and sayin") 8es) this is a "ood idea for us#8 And from a political standpoint  it8s li.ely that as we mine uranium) that we8re "oin" to want to ta.e care of the ones that mined in the past in order to ma.e it accepta+le to do it in the future#0 Killian said they are continuin" to coordinate with ,imon Boyce at the %avajo %ation $ashin"ton &ffice and with the %ew *e6ico dele"ation# At some point) another trip to $ashin"ton could +e in order to try to "enerate movement in the su+committees# -/hat would  +e) in my mind) the +est thin" to do)0 Killian said#

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