It's long been a goal of a variety of parties on Guam to get the island included in a federal program to assist those who were affected by U.S. nuclear testing in the 1950s and 60s. It's by now well established that the island population was exposed to the fallout and cancers and other illnesses associated with radiation have been documented.
A hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary will consider a Senate Bill (197) which would amend the Radiation Exposure Act to include Guam. It would allow those who resided in Guam between 1946 and 1962 and who suffered from cancer or other listed radiation-related illnesses, to apply for compensation that would include free medical care and up to $150,000 from the remaining funds in the RECA Trust Fund.
Guam resident, longtime advocate, and president of the Pacific Association for Radiation Survivors (PARS), Robert Celestial will join other advocates from New Mexico, Arizona, and Idaho on a panel to discuss the amendments. Tuesday, Vice Speaker Therese Terlaje and Celestial met with staff members from the office of Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), the main sponsor of S.197 who will also be chairing the hearing. There will be 2 panels at the hearing, the first panel led by Senator Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) who sponsored a similar bill in previous terms. The second panel will include Celestial and other representatives.
The hearing will begin at midnight, June 28, Guam time, but may seen live here.
After the hearing, Vice Speaker Terlaje and Mr. Celestial will meet with Senators and members of the House to discuss healthcare parity for atomic cleanup veterans, which was fully supported by the Guam Legislature Resolution No. 40-34.