CNMI Could Petition US For Nuclear Test Compensation

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Senate resolution notes proximity of CNMI, Guam to Enewetak

By Emmanuel T. Erediano

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Nov. 15, 2013) – The House Committee on Federal and Foreign Affairs is recommending the adoption of Senate Joint Resolution 18-4 which petitions the U.S. Congress to include the CNMI in the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.

The federal law compensates those whose health was affected by the radioactive fallout during America’s nuclear bomb tests in the Pacific.

Authored by Senate Vice President Victor B. Hocog, R-Rota, S.J.R. 18-4 also "affirms that all Americans should be given the same consideration when it comes to compensation for exposure to radiation from U.S. nuclear testing and to increase compensation for those affected."

A 10.4-megaton hydrogen bomb nicknamed Mike was detonated Oct. 31, 1952 on Enewetak Atoll which is approximately 1,230 miles from the NMI.

Hocog’s resolution stated that "there is no doubt the Territory of Guam received radioactive debris from fallout during the nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific Ocean."

"Because the CNMI is in close proximity to the Territory of Guam, separated by a scant 30 miles, and both are affected by the same wind, weather and ocean current patterns, it logically follows that radiation which affects the Territory of Guam necessarily affects the CNMI," S.J.R 18-4 said.

Of the seven members of the House Federal and Foreign Affairs Committee, only four signed the committee report —the committee chairman, Rep. Trenton B. Conner, IR-Saipan; Reps. Felicidad T. Ogumoro, R-Saipan; Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero, IR-Saipan; Tony R. Agulto, IR-Saipan.

They agreed that the radiation that affects Guam affects the CNMI as well. They noted that in 2004, U.S. Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo of Guam requested the U.S. Congress to include in the congressional study an assessment of Guam for "downwinders" and ship decontamination.

The CNMI House committee report stated that the assessment of the scientific information for the radiation screening and education program recommended that all residents of the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, and overseas U.S. territories who have been diagnosed with specific radiation exposure compensable disease and who may have been exposed to radiation from U.S. nuclear weapons testing fallout be compensated.

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