PARS lobbying for new RECA bill
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Variety News Staff
6 February 07
. . . . .
THE Pacific Association of Radiation Survivors continues its effort to
lobby both houses of Congress for inclusion of Guam in the Radiation
Exposure Compensation Program.
PARS president Robert Celestial submitted a new draft RECA bill to Idaho
Sen. Mike Crapo and Guam delegate Madeleine Bordallo during the Fallout
Compensation Expansion Conference Set for Boise Idaho.
PARS’ draft bill was similar to the one introduced by Bordallo in the last
Congress, in which Republican Sen. Conrad Burns of Montana also introduced
the same legislation on behalf of Montana residents sickened by Nevada’s
nuclear tests in the 1950s. The Republican-led Congress adjourned without
acting on the RECA bills.
At the Jan. 28 Idaho conference organized by the Idaho Downwinders group,
Celestial and PARS vice president Tony Taitingfong hand-delivered to Crapo
a letter from Gov. Felix P. Camacho and Lt. Gov. Mike Cruz, “asking for
support to include to include Guam in the bill when then they reintroduce
it in Congress next month.”
“We met with all members of the group and they were thankful that we came
all the way from Guam. They noted that Guam has one thing in common with
Idaho and Montana—we are all downwinders,” Celestial said.
“We agreed that Idaho, Montana and Guam should be part of the RECA program
and must receive health benefits and compensations granted to all
downwinders,” Celestial said.
A report released two years ago by the Committee to Assess the Scientific
Information for the Radiation Exposure Screening and Education Program
upheld Guam’s eligibility to receive compensation under RECA, citing the
island residents’ exposure to radiation fallout resulting from U.S.’s
nuclear tests in the Pacific in the 1950s.
The RECA program has two components—one covers compensation for
“downwinders” or those who were exposed to radiation fallout, and the
other for “onsite participants,” or those who worked in areas where ships
were decontaminated and those who mined and milled uranium for the nuclear