Australian news, and some related international items

Lawmakers demand reparations for New Mexicans imperiled by nuclear bomb testing

Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus, 10 Sept 22,

When the U.S.’ first nuclear bomb was detonated in south-central New Mexico, it was believed to set off a chain of cancers and health problems suffered by the surrounding communities for generations.

People who grew up near the Trinity Test Site, near the remote communities of Carrizozo or Tularosa, were denied federal relief dollars afforded to other “downwinders” impacted by nuclear testing around the country.

Both towns were within 50 miles of the blast site, and advocates say they were exposed to radiation from the bomb testing.

They advocated for years that New Mexico’s downwinders be included in cash payments made to those affected by nuclear activities under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA).

Members of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium advocated for such support from state lawmakers during a Tuesday meeting of the interim Radioactive and Hazardous Waste Committee.

“It’s very emotional to reflect on all we’ve lost as a result of being exposed to radiation,” said consortium founder Tina Cordova, herself a survivor of thyroid cancer who said members of her family also suffered from myriad forms of the disease.’

The committee, made up of state senators and representatives voted to send a letter to Congress, calling on the federal leaders to expand reparations to include New Mexicans…………………………..

Cordova pointed to high infant mortality rates and diseases among the people living near the site, which she said were the result of testing at the site.

She also pointed to economic depression in the rural community as its residents struggled for years with high medical bills Cordova attributed to the testing.

“We don’t have a chance in New Mexico to develop generational wealth,” Cordova said. “This has contributed greatly to the poverty we see here.”

Congress voted earlier this year to extend the RECA by two more years, via legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) and supported by the state’s entire congressional delegation and via a letter sent by the Radioactive and Hazardous Waste Committee.

But that legislation did not expand the compensation to include New Mexican downwinders, although it does give funds to some uranium miners mostly in the northern part of the state.

So far, downwinders were only federally recognized in parts of Arizona, Utah and Nevada attributed to activities at another nuclear test site in Nevada.  ……………………….

September 9, 2022 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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