Matheson Lauds Passage of Defense Authorization Bill
December 19, 2005
Washington DC-Congressman Jim Matheson today supported a vital military authorization bill which included his legislation to preserve historical records on radioactive fallout and the creation of a wilderness area to block transport of high level nuclear waste to Utah. Matheson said it is critical to American troops and their families that this bill passes. It essentially lays out the spending blueprint to fund military programs during the coming fiscal year.
Matheson expressed satisfaction that his bill -HR 2633-- is included. It prohibits the Department of Defense from destroying historical records relating to the exposure of soldiers to nuclear weapons testing and other atomic era experiments. Scientists had expressed concern that without a moratorium in place, DOD might have done away with a rare and important source of data for veterans, their families and the scientific community studying the effects of exposure to radioactive fallout.
Matheson said it is critical to American troops and their families that this bill passes. It essentially lays out the spending blueprint to fund military programs during the coming fiscal year.
He also pointed to the Utah delegation's success in adding legislation to create a wilderness area adjacent to Skull Valley in Utah's west desert to block construction of a proposed rail spur. A consortium of electrical utilities has received a license to store thousands of tons of lethal nuclear waste on the Goshute Reservation and needs the rail spur to efficiently transport it.
"After several years of trying to make this happen, it is very satisfying to see how a bipartisan effort can get it done. Utah does not want to be the dumping ground for this toxic garbage," said Matheson.
The fiscal year 2006 Defense Authorization bill-HR 1815-had been delayed by a political fight over specific anti-torture language inserted in the Senate version by Arizona Senator John McCain. Earlier this week, by an overwhelming bipartisan margin, the House passed a nonbinding resolution expressing support for the anti-torture provisions.
"Torture is morally wrong. It is politically damaging to our country throughout the civilized world. And, as retired Utah Brig. General David Irvine testified here this month, it is an ineffective way of extracting truth," said Matheson.