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Public Statements

Letter to The Honorable Elaine Chao, Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor, Dr. John Howard, MD, Director, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Dr. Paul Ziemer, Chairman, Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


Letter to The Honorable Elaine Chao, Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor, Dr. John Howard, MD, Director, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Dr. Paul Ziemer, Chairman, Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health

Obama Presses Federal Agencies for Nuclear Worker Compensation Spending Data

For 7 years, hundreds of sick workers have waited for a decision on their claims by the Government

U.S. Senator Barack Obama today sent the following letters to the Department of Labor (DOL), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Presidential Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health (ABRWH), calling on them to release the costs of administering the Energy Employees Occupational Illness and Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA). The EEOICPA, which was approved by Congress in 2000, provides $150,000 in compensation and medical benefits to former workers of America's nuclear weapons programs who are now suffering from radiation induced cancer as a result of harmful radiation exposure. While nearly 4,000 claims for the program have been filed by workers in Illinois, only 849 have been paid. As a result, hundreds of claimants have been waiting more than 7 years to receive a decision on their claims.

After a recent constituent inquiry as to the costs of administering the program during this delay, Obama called on the agencies to provide the figures associated with processing both Illinois and nationwide claims in order to examine how much these delays are costing taxpayers. Since 2005, Obama has actively advocated on behalf of these Illinoisans' claims, and worked to move the process forward.

"As hundreds of former employees of Blockson Chemical, General Steel Industries, and Dow Chemical wait to hear their claim decisions, these Illinoisans deserve to know how much this review process is costing taxpayers," said Senator Obama. "These men and woman suffering from cancer have waited for far too long to receive the benefits they deserve. We must ensure the federal government is expeditiously and efficiently processing these claims."

The texts of the letters are below:

April 30, 2008

The Honorable Elaine Chao, Secretary,
U.S. Department of Labor
Frances Perkins Building
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20210
Secretary Chao,

Recently a constituent inquired to my office as to the costs associated with processing EEOICPA claims. I agree with this claimant that taxpayers deserve to know how their money has been spent on this important program.

Specifically, please provide to my office within thirty (30) days:

1.) The costs incurred by the Department of Labor, by year, to process claims for all EEOICPA Illinois sites, separating the costs out cumulatively and by individual site. Please include any DoL costs attributed to contractors or other similar entities that have performed EEOICPA related work, by year, both cumulatively and by individual site in Illinois.

2.) The costs incurred by the Department of Labor, by year, to process claims for all EEOICPA sites, separating the costs out cumulatively and by individual site. Please include the total DoL costs attributed to contractors or other similar entities that have performed EEOICPA related work, by year, both cumulatively and by individual site.

Please forward this information to both my Washington and Springfield, IL offices.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama

***********

April 30, 2008

Dr. John Howard, MD, Director
National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
395 E Street, S.W.
Suite 9200
Patriots Plaza Building
Washington, DC 20201

Dr. Howard,

Recently a constituent inquired to my office as to the costs associated with processing EEOICPA claims. I agree with this claimant that taxpayers deserve to know how their money has been spent on this important program.

Specifically, please provide to my office within thirty days (30) days:

1.) The individual cost to perform dose reconstructions on Blockson Chemical, General Steel and Dow Chemical EEOICPA claims. To the extent possible, please separate out the costs to perform dose reconstructions attributable to each site which were incurred by NIOSH --OCAS, SC&A and ORAU.

2.) The administrative costs associated with overseeing Blockson Chemical, General Steel and Dow Chemical claims, including those related to worker outreach meetings and the costs related to the production and evaluation of Site Profiles, Technical Information Bulletins, Technical Basis Documents and Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) Evaluation Reports. In addition to the specific data related to the sites above, please provide the cumulative total for all sites across the United States and the cumulative total for all sites in Illinois.

Please forward this information to both my Washington and Springfield, IL offices.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama

***********

April 30, 2008

Dr. Paul Ziemer, Chairman
Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health
395 E Street, S.W.
Suite 9200
Patriots Plaza Building
Washington, D.C. 20201
Dr. Paul Ziemer,

Recently a constituent inquired to my office as to the costs associated with processing EEOICPA claims. I agree with this claimant that taxpayers deserve to know how their money has been spent on this important program.

Specifically, please provide to my office within thirty (30) days:

1.) The costs incurred by the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health, by year, with respect to all EEOICPA Illinois sites. Please be careful to separate the costs out as they apply to individual EEOICPA sites in Illinois and the total costs for all sites across the United States, by year, since 2000.

2.) The costs attributed to contractors or other similar entities that have performed work on behalf of the ABRWH, being careful to separate the costs out, by year, according to the total individual contractor costs for all sites and the contractor costs by individual site in Illinois.

Please forward this information to both my Washington, D.C. and Springfield, IL offices.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama


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