This week, freshman U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., introduced a bill calling on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) “to study the effects of radiation on veterans who were assigned to the cleanup of the Enewetak Atoll nuclear testing site from January 1, 1977, to December 31, 1980.”
Joining Steube in backing the “Enewetak Atoll Cleanup Radiation Study Act” was U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria, D-VA.
The bill was sent to the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee on which Steube sits, something he mentioned on Thursday.
“As a veteran and a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I know the importance of listening to veterans to ensure they are receiving the care they deserve,” said Steube. “This bill will direct the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to partner with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) to conduct a small-scale study to review the findings from a previous radiation dose assessment (RDA) conducted by the Department of Defense (DOD). If there are discrepancies in the original RDA, I’m determined to get to the bottom of it.”
Steube’s office noted last year “the DOD determined veterans who participated in the Enewetak Atoll cleanup (ECUP) were not exposed to harmful levels of radiation” but “ECUP Vets, along with representatives from NAS, expressed concern about these findings in a meeting of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee last year—specifically citing issues with methodology and assessment in the DOD’s review.”
“This bill seeks to clear up some of the confusion around the original RDA and address our veterans’ concerns about their level of radiation exposure during their military service,” Steube said. “We’ve also asked that the VA and NAS report back to the committee so we can review and determine next steps.”
Luria is the only cosponsor of the bill. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.