ANWAG Supports Reintroduction of Department of Labor Board

Updated 8 years ago Edited from a Press Release
ANWAG Supports Reintroduction of Department of Labor Board

Craig, CO – The Alliance of Nuclear Worker Advocacy Groups (ANWAG) appreciates the efforts of Senators Mark Udall and Lamar Alexander, Representatives Ed Whitfield, Ed Perlmutter, Jared Polis and the original cosponsors to reintroduce legislation, which would create an independent Presidential advisory board to the Department of Labor (DOL).  This Board would be responsible for reviewing the science used to link diseases to exposure to toxic substances, provide oversight of DOL’s experts, and review evidentiary evidence for Part B lung claims.

“As a member of the Cold War Patriots Advisory Committee, I encourage the passage of this legislation as it will provide the oversight of EEOICPA’s Part E and Part B lung claims process”, stated Faye Vlieger of CWP.  “This independent board was recommended by three government sponsored studies.  Given the complexities of the claims process under this program, this board will also provide a much needed venue for claimants and their advocates to provide input and create a dialog.”

“EECAP strongly recommends Congress pass this important legislation.Oversight of EEOICPA’s Part E and Part B lung claims is badly needed and long overdue”, added Deb Jerison of EECAP. “DEEOIC needs oversight  to help with their out of control costs and focus on providing the sick nuclear weapons workers with the medical care and compensation the law requires.”

“One of the areas the proposed Board would have responsibility for is ensuring the Site Exposure Matrix is peer-reviewed and that all possible adverse health effects from exposure to the toxic substances present at the DOE weapons facilities are available to the DOL claims examiners”, said Terrie Barrie of ANWAG. “Another important responsibility of this Board is to oversee the reports issued by DOL’s experts and ensure that they, too, are using the best science when submitting their opinion.”

“After many years of slogging through this program, claimants and advocates patiently waited for the reform of 2004.  But, inside correspondence revealed that DOL was instructed by the OMB to deny claims OMB in 2006.  This directive appears to have permeated the entire program, taking many forms”, stated Janet Michel of CHE.“The number of problems has grown as people languish without help and many die.Oversight is needed and hopefully enough sponsors will see the need to make true oversight happen.The panel needs to have power to fully investigate, document and publicize and share those findings with the public, the President and Congress.” 

“DOE workers are smart people”, Dr. Kenneth Silver offered.  “The government used their know-how to produce nuclear weapons during the Cold War.  With this advisory board the government will be able to tap their brainpower on how to improve a critical program that impacts the lives of many families in communities where weapons were produced.”

ANWAG appreciates the efforts of these legislators and their staff for reintroducing this much needed legislation.  The Cold War workers or their survivors deserve nothing less than an honest and fair assessment of their claim using the best available science.  The workers placed their lives in jeopardy, often unknowingly, to protect our country.  ANWAG calls on the rest of Congress to pass this legislation when they return from recess in September.