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2005-01-16-Schumer-Uranium Exposure

Harrison Weblog

2005 blog


Keeping up with Jewish officeholders

Schumer joins Clinton, three House members
in urging DOL investigation of radiation claims
,  Jan. 16, 2005

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) joined fellow New Yorkers Sen. Hillary Clinton, amd U.S. Reps. Louise Slaughter, Tom Reynolds and Brian Higgins in expressing dissatisfaction with the work done so far by Department of Labor to determine whether former workers at the Bethlehem Steel in Lackawanna, N.Y. are eligible for benefits for exposure to radiation.

The former workers have asserted that they were engaged in rolling uranium at the plant between 1955 and 1960, but in the absence of corroborating evidence, the Department of Labor has not honored their claims under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Act (EEOICPA)

The four Democratic officeholders and Reynolds, a Republican, said in a Jan. 14 letter to Shelby Hallmark, director of the Labor Department's Office of Workers Compensation, that the DOL should investigate whether the records are located at the Bethlehem Steel facility in Saylorsville, Penn., or at any of several Department of Energy facilities in the western New York and Pennsylvania area. These sites were indicated as possibilities in a "site profile" conducted by Sanford Cohen & Associates.

In their joint letter to the Labor Department, the senators and representatives requested the following information and actions be taken with respect to the Bethlehem Steel facility:

1) Please describe the investigative process that DOL follows with regard to Subtitle B claims asserting that there were covered activities outside of the time periods listed in the Federal Register notices published periodically by the Department of Energy (DOE).

2) With respect to the DOLís process, please provide the factual basis for the denials of claims related to reports that there were rollings at Bethlehem Steel in 1955 and 1956.

3) Please provide a description of the inquiry undertaken by DOL, or requests for investigations by DOE or NIOSH, to determine if rollings took place in 1955-56. Please attach copies of emails, letters, and reports from DOE field offices that describe the specific efforts undertaken and by whom this research was conducted. Please provide copies of all documents that were recovered.

4) Did DOL or other federal agencies, such as DOE, direct a review of uranium shipment records at Savannah River, Hanford and the Chalk River Reactor to determine if shipments were made from Bethlehem Steel (or an intermediary) to these three facilities in 1955-56? If so, please provide copies of documents. If not, we urge DOL to initiative such a review immediately, as we note that DOE has uncovered a significant amount of shipment data in connection with its mass balance report on recycled uranium.                            
óDonald H. Harrison