Udall pushes to expand Radiation Exposure Compensation Act | KOB 4

Udall pushes to expand Radiation Exposure Compensation Act

Colton Shone
October 07, 2019 05:31 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—There are more than 500 abandoned uranium mines dotted across the Navajo Nation. Many of those communities, including Red Water Pond, are along the western part of New Mexico.


"We suffer from respiratory illnesses, cancers, different kinds of skin ailments—there's a lot of things that happened,” said Red Water Pond resident Teracita Keyanna.

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held a hearing in Albuquerque Monday to discuss the negative effects of uranium exposure in Indian Country.

Committee Chairman Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M) said progress has to be made.

"To put pressure on the federal agencies to move this process as quickly as they can. I find it outrageous that they can't tell us where all these sites are nationwide. Many here in New Mexico,” Sen. Udall said.

Sen. Udall wants to pass a law that expands coverage of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act to include post-1971 uranium workers and the Tularosa Downwinders.

The Downwinders are individuals from the Tularosa Basin that were impacted by the nuclear fallout from Trinity Site.

The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act has paid out $2.3 billion and is scheduled to sunset in 2022.

"We need to make sure the government is working on cleaning that mess up,” said Rep. Deb Haaland. “It is contaminating ground water, it's contaminating land. In some cases, the mining companies up and left and this radiation was just blowing around for decades."

Sen. Udall and Rep. Haaland told KOB 4 that legislation takes time and they hope get some action done in the future.


Colton Shone

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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