Text: H.R.2372 — 101st Congress (1989-1990)All Information (Except Text)

Text available as:

Shown Here:
Enrolled Bill

 
 
--H.R.2372--
H.R.2372
One Hundred First Congress of the United States of America
AT THE SECOND SESSION
Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday, the twenty-third day
of January,
one thousand nine hundred and ninety
An Act
To provide jurisdiction and procedures for claims for compassionate payments
for injuries due to exposure to radiation from nuclear testing.
 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
 States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
 This Act may be cited as the `Radiation Exposure Compensation Act'.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS, PURPOSE, AND APOLOGY.
 (a) FINDINGS- The Congress finds that--
 (1) fallout emitted during the Government's above-ground nuclear tests
 in Nevada exposed individuals who lived in the downwind affected area in
 Nevada, Utah, and Arizona to radiation that is presumed to have generated
 an excess of cancers among these individuals;
 (2) the health of the individuals who were unwitting participants in these
 tests was put at risk to serve the national security interests of the
 United States;
 (3) radiation released in underground uranium mines that were providing
 uranium for the primary use and benefit of the nuclear weapons program of
 the United States Government exposed miners to large doses of radiation and
 other airborne hazards in the mine environment that together are presumed
 to have produced an increased incidence of lung cancer and respiratory
 diseases among these miners;
 (4) the United States should recognize and assume responsibility for the
 harm done to these individuals; and
 (5) the Congress recognizes that the lives and health of uranium miners
 and of innocent individuals who lived downwind from the Nevada tests were
 involuntarily subjected to increased risk of injury and disease to serve
 the national security interests of the United States.
 (b) PURPOSE- It is the purpose of this Act to establish a procedure to
 make partial restitution to the individuals described in subsection (a)
 for the burdens they have borne for the Nation as a whole.
 (c) APOLOGY- The Congress apologizes on behalf of the Nation to the
 individuals described in subsection (a) and their families for the hardships
 they have endured.
SEC. 3. TRUST FUND.
 (a) ESTABLISHMENT- There is established in the Treasury of the United
 States, a trust fund to be known as the `Radiation Exposure Compensation
 Trust Fund' (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the `Fund'), which
 shall be administered by the Secretary of the Treasury.
 (b) INVESTMENT OF AMOUNTS IN THE FUND- Amounts in the Fund shall be invested
 in accordance with section 9702 of title 31, United States Code, and any
 interest on, and proceeds from any such investment shall be credited to
 and become a part of the Fund.
 (c) AVAILABILITY OF THE FUND- Amounts in the Fund shall be available only
 for disbursement by the Attorney General under section 6.
 (d) TERMINATION- The Fund shall terminate not later than the earlier of the
 date on which an amount has been expended from the Fund which is equal to
 the amount authorized to be appropriated to the Fund by subsection (e),
 and any income earned on such amount, or 22 years after the date of the
 enactment of this Act. If all of the amounts in the Fund have not been
 expended by the end of that 22-year period, investments of amounts in the
 Fund shall be liquidated and receipts thereof deposited in the Fund and
 all funds remaining in the Fund shall be deposited in the miscellaneous
 receipts account in the Treasury.
 (e) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There are authorized to be appropriated
 to the Fund $100,000,000. Any amounts appropriated pursuant to this section
 are authorized to remain available until expended.
SEC. 4. CLAIMS RELATING TO OPEN AIR NUCLEAR TESTING.
 (a)(1) CLAIMS RELATING TO CHILDHOOD LEUKEMIA- Any individual who was
 physically present in the affected area for a period of at least 1 year during
 the period beginning on January 21, 1951, and ending on October 31, 1958,
 or was physically present in the affected area for the period beginning on
 June 30, 1962, and ending on July 31, 1962, and who submits written medical
 documentation that he or she, after such period of physical presence and
 between 2 and 30 years of first exposure to the fallout, contracted leukemia
 (other than chronic lymphocytic leukemia), shall receive $50,000 if--
 (A) initial exposure occurred prior to age 21,
 (B) the claim for such payment is filed with the Attorney General by or on
 behalf of such individual, and
 (C) the Attorney General determines, in accordance with section 6, that
 the claim meets the requirements of this Act.
 (2) CLAIMS RELATING TO SPECIFIED DISEASES- Any individual who was physically
 present in the affected area for a period of at least 2 years during the
 period beginning on January 21, 1951, and ending on October 31, 1958, or was
 physically present in the affected area for the period beginning on June
 30, 1962, and ending on July 31, 1962, and who submits written medical
 documentation that he or she, after such period of physical presence,
 contracted a specified disease, shall receive $50,000 if--
 (A) the claim for such payment is filed with the Attorney General by or on
 behalf of such individual, and
 (B) the Attorney General determines, in accordance with section 6, that
 the claim meets the requirements of this Act.
Payments under this section may be made only in accordance with section 6.
 (b) DEFINITIONS- For purposes of this section, the term--
 (1) `affected area' means--
 (A) in the State of Utah, the counties of Washington, Iron, Kane, Garfield,
 Sevier, Beaver, Millard, and Piute;
 (B) in the State of Nevada, the counties of White Pine, Nye, Lander, Lincoln,
 Eureka, and that portion of Clark County that consists of townships 13
 through 16 at ranges 63 through 71; and
 (C) that part of Arizona that is north of the Grand Canyon and west of the
 Colorado River; and
 (2) `specified disease' means leukemia (other than chronic lymphocytic
 leukemia), provided that initial exposure occurred after the age of 20 and
 the onset of the disease was between 2 and 30 years of first exposure, and
 the following diseases, provided onset was at least 5 years after first
 exposure: multiple myeloma, lymphomas (other than Hodgkin's disease),
 and primary cancer of: the thyroid (provided initial exposure occurred
 by the age of 20), female breast (provided initial exposure occurred
 prior to age 40), esophagus (provided low alcohol consumption and not a
 heavy smoker), stomach (provided initial exposure occurred before age 30),
 pharynx (provided not a heavy smoker), small intestine, pancreas (provided
 not a heavy smoker and low coffee consumption), bile ducts, gall bladder,
 or liver (except if cirrhosis or hepatitis B is indicated).
SEC. 5. CLAIMS RELATING TO URANIUM MINING.
 (a) ELIGIBILITY OF INDIVIDUALS- Any individual who was employed in a uranium
 mine located in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, or Utah at any time
 during the period beginning on January 1, 1947, and ending on December 31,
 1971, and who, in the course of such employment--
 (1)(A) if a nonsmoker, was exposed to 200 or more working level months of
 radiation and submits written medical documentation that he or she, after
 such exposure, developed lung cancer, or
 (B) if  a smoker, was exposed to 300 or more working level months of
 radiation and cancer incidence occurred before age 45 or was exposed to
 500 or more working level months of radiation, regardless of age of cancer
 incidence, and submits written medical documentation that he or she, after
 such exposure, developed lung cancer; or
 (2)(A) if a nonsmoker, was exposed to 200 or more working level months of
 radiation and submits written medical documentation that he or she, after
 such exposure, developed a nonmalignant respiratory disease, or
 (B) if a smoker, was exposed to 300 or more working level months of radiation
 and the nonmalignant respiratory disease developed before age 45 or was
 exposed to 500 or more working level months of radiation, regardless of
 age of disease incidence, and submits written medical documentation that
 he or she, after such exposure, developed a nonmalignant respiratory disease,
shall receive $100,000, if--
 (1) the claim for such payment is filed with the Attorney General by or on
 behalf of such individual, and
 (2) the Attorney General determines, in accordance with section 6, that
 the claim meets the requirements of this Act.
Payments under this section may be made only in accordance with section 6.
 (b) DEFINITIONS- For purposes of this section--
 (1) the term `working level month of radiation' means radiation exposure at
 the level of one working level every work day for a month, or an equivalent
 exposure over a greater or lesser amount of time;
 (2) the term `working level' means the concentration of the short half-life
 daughters of radon that will release (1.3.0A105) million electron volts of
 alpha energy per liter of air;
 (3) the term `nonmalignant respiratory disease' means fibrosis of the lung,
 pulmonary fibrosis, and corpulmonale related to fibrosis of the lung; and
 if the claimant, whether Indian or non-Indian, worked in an uranium mine
 located on or within an Indian Reservation, the term shall also include
 moderate or severe silicosis or pneumoconiosis; and
 (4) the term `Indian tribe' means any Indian tribe, band, nation, pueblo,
 or other organized group or community, that is recognized as eligible for
 special programs and services provided by the United States to Indian tribes
 because of their status as Indians.
SEC. 6. DETERMINATION AND PAYMENT OF CLAIMS.
 (a) ESTABLISHMENT OF FILING PROCEDURES- The Attorney General shall establish
 procedures whereby individuals may submit claims for payments under this Act.
 (b) DETERMINATION OF CLAIMS-
 (1) IN GENERAL- The Attorney General shall, in accordance with this
 subsection, determine whether each claim filed under this Act meets the
 requirements of this Act.
 (2) CONSULTATION- The Attorney General shall--
 (A) in consultation with the Surgeon General, establish guidelines for
 determining what constitutes written medical documentation that an individual
 contracted a specified disease under section 4 or other disease specified
 in section 5; and
 (B) in consultation with the Director of the National Institute for
 Occupational Safety and Health, establish guidelines for determining what
 constitutes  documentation that an individual was exposed to the working
 level months of radiation under section 5.
The Attorney General may consult with the Surgeon General with respect to
making determinations pursuant to the guidelines issued under subparagraph
(A), and with the Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety
and Health with respect to making determinations pursuant to the guidelines
issued under subparagraph (B).
 (c) PAYMENT OF CLAIMS-
 (1) IN GENERAL- The Attorney General shall pay, from amounts available in
 the Fund, claims filed under this Act which the Attorney General determines
 meet the requirements of this Act.
 (2) OFFSET FOR CERTAIN PAYMENTS- A payment to an individual, or to a survivor
 of that individual, under this section on a claim under section 4 or 5
 shall be offset by the amount of any payment made pursuant to a final award
 or settlement on a claim (other than a claim for worker's compensation),
 against any person, that is based on injuries incurred by that individual
 on account of--
 (A) exposure to radiation, from open air nuclear testing, in the affected
 area (as defined in section 4(b)(1)) at any time during any period specified
 in section 4(a), or
 (B) exposure to radiation in a uranium mine at any time during the period
 described in section 5(a).
 (3) RIGHT OF SUBROGATION- Upon payment of a claim under this section, the
 United States Government is subrogated for the amount of the payment to a
 right or claim that the individual to whom the payment was made may have
 against any person on account of injuries referred to in paragraph (2).
 (4) PAYMENTS IN THE CASE OF DECEASED PERSONS-
 (A) IN GENERAL- In the case of an individual who is deceased at the time
 of payment under this section, such payment may be made only as follows:
 (i) If the individual is survived by a spouse who is living at the time of
 payment, such payment shall be made to such surviving spouse.
 (ii) If there is no surviving spouse described in clause (i), such payment
 shall be made in equal shares to all children of the individual who are
 living at the time of payment.
 (iii) If there is no surviving spouse described in clause (i) and if there
 are no children described in clause (ii), such payment shall be made in equal
 shares to the parents of the individual who are living at the time of payment.
 (iv) If there is no surviving spouse described in clause (i), and if there
 are no children described in clause (ii) or parents described in clause
 (iii), such payment shall be made in equal shares to all grandchildren of
 the individual who are living at the time of payment.
 (v) If there is no surviving spouse described in clause (i), and if there
 are no children described in clause (ii), parents described in clause (iii),
 or grandchildren described in clause (iv), then such payment shall be made
 in equal shares to the grandparents of the individual who are living at
 the time of payment.
 (B) INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE SURVIVORS- If an individual eligible for payment
 under section 4 or 5 dies before filing a claim under this Act, a survivor
 of that individual who may receive payment under subparagraph (A) may file
 a claim for such payment under this Act.
 (C) DEFINITIONS- For purposes of this paragraph--
 (i) the `spouse' of an individual means a wife or husband of that individual
 who was married to that individual for at least one year immediately before
 the death of that individual;
 (ii) a `child' includes a recognized natural child, a stepchild who lived with
 an individual in a regular parent-child relationship, and an adopted child;
 (iii) a `parent' includes fathers and mothers through adoption;
 (iv) a `grandchild' of an individual is a child of a child of that
 individual; and
 (v) a `grandparent' of an individual is a parent of a parent of that
 individual.
 (d) ACTION ON CLAIMS- The Attorney General shall complete the determination
 on each claim filed in accordance with the procedures established under
 subsection (a) not later than twelve months after the claim is so filed.
 (e) PAYMENT IN FULL SETTLEMENT OF CLAIMS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES- The
 acceptance of payment by an individual under this section shall be in full
 satisfaction of all claims of or on behalf of that individual against
 the United States, or against any person with respect to that person's
 performance of a contract with the United States, that arise out of exposure
 to radiation, from open air nuclear testing, in the affected area (as defined
 in section 4(b)(1)) at any time during any period described in section 4(a),
 or exposure to radiation in a uranium mine at any time during the period
 described in section 5(a).
 (f) ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS NOT PAID FROM THE FUND- No costs incurred by the
 Attorney General in carrying out this section shall be paid from the Fund
 or set off against, or otherwise deducted from, any payment under this
 section to any individual.
 (g) TERMINATION OF DUTIES OF ATTORNEY GENERAL- The duties of the Attorney
 General under this section shall cease when the Fund terminates.
 (h) CERTIFICATION OF TREATMENT OF PAYMENTS UNDER OTHER LAWS- Amounts paid
 to an individual under this section--
 (1) shall be treated for purposes of the internal revenue laws of the United
 States as damages for human suffering; and
 (2) shall not be included as income or resources for purposes of determining
 eligibility to receive benefits described in section 3803(c)(2)(C) of title
 31, United States Code, or the amount of such benefits.
 (i) USE OF EXISTING RESOURCES- The Attorney General should use funds and
 resources available to the Attorney General to carry out his or her functions
 under this Act.
 (j) REGULATORY AUTHORITY- The Attorney General may issue such regulations
 as are necessary to carry out this Act.
 (k) ISSUANCE OF REGULATIONS, GUIDELINES, AND PROCEDURES- Regulations,
 guidelines, and procedures to carry out this Act shall be issued not later
 than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
SEC. 7. CLAIMS NOT ASSIGNABLE OR TRANSFERABLE; CHOICE OF REMEDIES.
 (a) CLAIMS NOT ASSIGNABLE OR TRANSFERABLE- No claim cognizable under this
 Act shall be assignable or transferable.
 (b) CHOICE OF REMEDIES- No individual may receive payment under both sections
 4 and 5 of this Act.
SEC. 8. LIMITATIONS ON CLAIMS.
 A claim to which this Act applies shall be barred unless the claim is filed
 within 20 years after the date of the enactment of this Act.
SEC. 9. ATTORNEY FEES.
 Notwithstanding any contract, the representative of an individual may not
 receive, for services rendered in connection with the claim of an individual
 under this Act, more than 10 per centum of a payment made under this Act
 on such claim. Any such representative who violates this section shall be
 fined not more than $5,000.
SEC. 10. CERTAIN CLAIMS NOT AFFECTED BY AWARDS OF DAMAGES.
 A payment made under this Act shall not be considered as any form of
 compensation or reimbursement for a loss for purposes of imposing liability
 on any individual receiving such payment, on the basis of such receipt, to
 repay any insurance carrier for insurance payments, or to repay any person
 on account of worker's compensation payments; and a payment under this Act
 shall not affect any claim against an insurance carrier with respect to
 insurance or against any person with respect to worker's compensation.
SEC. 11. BUDGET ACT.
 No authority under this Act to enter into contracts or to make payments
 shall be effective in any fiscal year except to such extent or in such
 amounts as are provided in advance in appropriations Acts.
SEC. 12. REPORT.
 (a) The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall submit a report
 on the incidence of radiation related moderate or severe silicosis and
 pneumoconiosis  in uranium miners employed in the uranium mines  that are
 defined in section 5 and are located off of Indian reservations.
 (b) Such report shall be completed not later than September 30, 1992.
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Vice President of the United States and
President of the Senate.