HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.R. NO.

196

TWENTY-SEVENTH LEGISLATURE, 2014

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSE RESOLUTION

 

 

urging congress and the United states department of veterans affairs to include within the definition of "atomic veterans" the veterans involved in the cleanup of the United States nuclear test site on lojwa island from 1977 to 1980 making them eligible to receive compensation and health care benefits from the united states government.

 

 

 


WHEREAS, from 1977 through 1980, members of the United States Armed Forces participated in a radiation cleanup of the United States nuclear test site in the Marshall Islands; and

 

WHEREAS, service members involved in the Enewetak Atoll Atomic Debris Cleanup moved radioactive fallout and debris from the surface of the islands of Enewetak Atoll to a 370-foot diameter concrete containment structure on Runit Island and also created a number of artificial reefs in the lagoon; and

 

WHEREAS, following the radiation cleanup, the Marshallese inhabitants returned to their homeland and the service members were presented with Humanitarian Medals by the United States government in recognition of their efforts; and

 

WHEREAS, while having served their country, these surviving and decorated veterans now suffer from health problems related to radiation exposure, but are not eligible for certain compensation and health care benefits from the United States government; and

 

WHEREAS, Congress has not created any presumptions for veterans or civilians based on residual contamination from nuclear tests at Enewetak Atoll; and

 

WHEREAS, while it is the position of the United States Department of Justice that medical funds be made available to those who participated in radiation-risk activities during active service, Congress has not included cleanup veterans in the definition of "Atomic Veteran", an omission that has denied these decorated veterans from receiving certain compensation and health care benefits from the federal government; and

 

WHEREAS, these cleanup veterans are not included in the definition of an "Atomic Veteran", which is defined as a veteran who, as part of his or her military service, participated in an above-ground nuclear test from 19451962, or served in the United States military occupation forces in or around Hiroshima or Nagasaki before 1946; or was held as a prisoner of war in or near Hiroshima or Nagasaki and was subjected to certain conditions; and

 

WHEREAS, these cleanup veterans, specifically those veterans who participated in radiation-risk activities during active service and were housed at Lojwa Island in the northern half of the Enewetak Atoll, should be included in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs' definition of an "Atomic Veteran" making them eligible for benefits; now, therefore,

 

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-seventh Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2014, that Congress and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs are urged to include within the definition of "Atomic Veteran" the veterans involved in the cleanup of the United States nuclear test site on Lojwa Island from 1977 to 1980 making them eligible to receive compensation and health care benefits from the United States government; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, Majority Leader of the United States Senate, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Secretary of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and Hawaii's Congressional delegation.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

Report Title:

Congress; United States Department of Veterans Affairs; Lojwa; Radiation; Benefits