Navajos Lobby For Changes In RECA - Green Collar Focus: Employment Ops
WINDOW ROCK – On March 24, France announced that it would pay compensation to persons suffering from radiation-linked illnesses. According to The New York Times, France carried out more than 200 nuclear tests between 1960 and 1996.
In the United States, former Navajo and Post-71 uranium workers, and victims of fallout from above-ground nuclear tests conducted by the federal government in Nevada and New Mexico are still seeking just compensation and recognition for their illnesses.
While the United States began compensating Cold War uranium victims under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act in 1990 and amended the legislation in 2000 to include mill and ore workers, the legislation still falls short, according to Keith Killian of Killian, Jensen & Davis of Durango, Colo., which was retained by the Navajo Nation to lobby for further changes to RECA.
As of April 3, $1.391 billion in claims have been paid, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, however, more than 8,000 claims have been denied, which is not to say that the claimants are not sick, they just do not meet federal criteria for receiving compensation. In Navajo's case, it is too stringent for many to qualify, and Post-71 victims are not eligible under current law.
In addition, according to Gilbert Badoni, president of the Navajo Nation Dependents of Uranium Workers Committee, there are an estimated 15,000 to 17,000 second-generation dependents and mothers now beginning to surface who possibly have some form of health ailment associated with radiation exposure.
“We do have mothers who have passed on, and we're beginning to see young folks getting diagnosed with some form of cancer. We heard this past winter that at least a couple had passed on – and they're just young, like 25, 26 years old – due to cancer. Their grandparents worked in the mines. So now we're beginning to see all these things creeping up,” Badoni said.
“There's been enough studies by the government. They know the effects of radiation. I can understand from the congressional side that they want clear evidence,” he said, but the health studies needed to document such claims are not being conducted. “We need to put this on the fast-track.”
Killian and the Navajo Nation uranium lobbying team are planning a trip to Washington in June to meet with congressional members in hopes of getting a non-partisan bill introduced in Congress. Their last trip was in November 2007.
“We were expecting and hoping that something would be introduced in 2008, but we had some (national) financial turmoil toward the end of the year last year and also the election, so I think it kind of got sidetracked,” he said. “There's no legislation pending right now. There's nothing that's been introduced.”
“We haven't been able to move anything forward. It's really been kind of depressing,” said Linda Evers of the Post-71 Uranium Workers Committee of Grants, a volunteer committee committed to documenting the health status of uranium industry workers after 1971 who are suffering from health problems believed to be related to their employment.
Through a survey sent out to Post-71 workers, many of whom are Hispanic and Native American, they have documented 1,203 eligible participants.
“We continue our fight to educate the lawmakers in our country to these issues. I'm so frustrated. We really haven't made a difference yet. We got very active in the election process because we totally believed the people that were talking what we wanted to hear,” she said.
As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Tom Udall of New Mexico was leading the way in the last Congress to promote RECA changes, along with Rep. Rick Renzi of Arizona and Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah. Renzi did not seek re-election and “that had a negative effect on these changes because Renzi was involved in them and was kind of the point person,” Killian said.
Udall took up the mantle, Killian said, but was elected to the Senate in November, meaning that he has to develop new alliances in the Senate. “I don't think it's beyond a reasonable expectation that he can do that,” Killian said.
“Senator Udall is actively engaging numerous western senators in discussions about proposed amendments to the RECA law, and we hope that a bipartisan and broadly supported piece of legislation emerges,” Marissa Padilla of Udall's office said Friday.
GREEN COLLAR FOCUS: EARTH
Submitted by Native Workplace
The Nation has experienced an increase in clean-up activities, restoration, and recycling efforts. Because of this, we have seen an increase in opportunities in environmentally related occupations.
Employment of environmental technicians will be needed to help regulate waste products; to collect air, water, and soil samples for measuring levels of pollutants; to monitor compliance with environmental regulations; and to clean up contaminated sites.
Environmental Field Technician: performs various environmental activities including: Supervising environmental construction projects, site assessments, monitoring activities and sampling, remediation activities, report writing.
In addition to assisting clients with regulatory compliance. Individuals may work with vapor extraction, ground water pump and treat, and dual-phase recovery systems, amongst others.
Candidates with 40 Hour OSHA (29 CFR 1910.120) HAZWOPER health and safety training are preferred, but many companies will train the right person. Entry-level candidates are considered.
Successful candidates will be mechanically inclined. Any previous experience in site investigation, remediation, construction or other outdoor fieldwork is advantageous.
Forest And Conservation Technicians:
These workers usually work in a forest under the supervision of a forester, doing specific tasks such as gathering data on populations of trees, disease, insect damage, and conditions that may pose a fire hazard.
In addition, technicians measure timber, locate property lines, train and lead other forestry workers in seasonal activities, such as planting tree seedlings, and maintaining recreational facilities.
Increasing numbers of technicians work in urban forestry—the study of individual trees in cities and other nontraditional specialties, rather than in forests or rural areas. More details on this career
Average pay $35,000/year Bureau of Labor Statistics
Training: Penn Foster Career School
Green Roof Construction:
At this time, these jobs are found more in urban areas rather than rural. Green Roofs have become a very important component of sustainable urban development within the last 30 years. Growing environmental awareness and the striking economical and ecological advantages are the driving forces for this great success.
Arizona pipetrades trains welders
A program developed by the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Sprinklerfitter (UA) has helped 12 members of the Navajo Nation complete a 16 week Hybrid Welding Program
Saving green Save money: Avoid plastic bottles, make your own drinks
NWP Executive Director will be speaking on Green Jobs & Training at the Department of Interior IEED 477 National Conference in Orlando, Florida April 6-10
The DOI Office of Indian Energy & Economic Development in partnership with the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and Dept. of Commerce MBDA are hosting a FREE three day Executive Training Retreat "Building Successful Native American Businesses" April 14-16th at the Poarch Creek Wind Creek Casino & Hotel , Atmore, AL
Contact Rebecca Naragon (202) 208-4401
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