Gosar Demands Expansion of Compensation for Radiation Exposure Victims in Arizona

Gosar Demands Expansion of Compensation for Radiation Exposure Victims in Arizona

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
March 18, 2024

As a desert with plenty of space, the American Southwest, primarily Nevada, has been a preferential site for nuclear testing. However, many have been exposed to radiation as downwinders or uranium miners in Arizona, afflicted with cancer and other illnesses. The Federal government authorized compensation to victims in 1990, though only in select areas. Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) recently demanded Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) include compensation for all of Arizona as the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) is up for reauthorization.

In January, the Arizona Mirror noted President Biden extended RECA before its expiration in July 2022. The following July, the Senate approved RECA's expansion by including it in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2024. However, it was removed from the final version signed by the White House for unknown reasons.

Rep. Gosar did not mince words in his letter to Speaker Johnson demanding the expansion, saying, "It is a tragic fact that in an effort to protect us from our enemies, the United States government poisoned its own people. The federal government has a responsibility to take care of the survivors of nuclear weapons testing, known as downwinders, who unknowingly were exposed to deadly levels of radiation and toxic waste."

Does Texas have a constitutional right to defy Supreme Court on protecting its border?

As a result, the extension of RECA championed by Rep. Gosar includes several new provisions on top of the expansion to all residents of Arizona, such as those in Mohave County, whom he said "have been wrongfully excluded for years and should be first in line for compensation."

Additionally, RECA would be extended by six years and increase the lump-sum compensation to $100,000, initially reserved for uranium miners under the original act (downwinders would receive $50,000).

"There is broad, bipartisan agreement that the United States must compensate all downwinders who have been stricken with cancer and other diseases because of reckless government actions. Now would be the correct time to strengthen RECA and cover these communities in Arizona by expanding the program, already authorized by Congress, that has been life-changing for so many people," Gosar concluded.

In August, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) acknowledged the signing of the similar Honoring Our PACT Act, which provided compensation to military veterans exposed to toxic burn pits in the line of duty.

Related Posts

Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

Subscribe to the newsletter everyone in Arizona is reading.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.