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The Utah State Division of Health has funded the University of
Utah College of Medicine (Dr. J. Lynn Lyon) to study the cancer mor
tality of the residents living near the Vitro site.
Using Utah Can
cer Registry data, lung cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma deaths are
being plotted on a map using Vitro as a point source of pollution.
Results will be available shortly to determine if there are increased
radiation-associated cancers close to the tailings compared to a matched
The third study would be a mortality study of the former Vitro
The importance of this study would be to determine if any
mortality from a disease (e.g. lymphoma) is increased.
confirm or deny previous findings of uranium mill workers.
ployees working for any length of time between 1951-1968 would be
part of the Study Group.
Their vital status as of December 31, 1977,
would be determined.
Death certificates would be obtained from all
deceased workers, and a life-table method would determine observed/
expected rates of mortality.
Names of former workers would be obtained
from Social Security files.
Automation Industries, Inc. (current owner
of Vitro Minerals and Chemical Company) has granted permission to
obtain Vitro employees names and birth dates from Social Security.
Funding of such a mortality study would help determine if a health
hazard exists among those exposed to higher levels of radiation compared
to the nearby community.
William Rom, M.D., M.P.H.
Pulmonary Disease Division
Department of Internal Medicine
University of Utah
This week, the Comerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power will be considering the "Uranium Mill Tailing Control Act of 1978."
This legislation, developed by the involved states, the Administration, and Representative Udall's Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment, will create a federal-state cooperative program for safety and environmental management of uranium mill wastes.
The importance of cleaning up these nuclear wastes has been well documented by both the House and Senate hearings. The environmental and aesthetic damage, as well as dangers to health, are just beginning to be measurea. The cleanup cost to the affected states could be over 100 million dollars. Remedial action on Colorado's mill sites alone may cost 50 million dollars.
Mining is essential to our economy and prosperity, but it
H. R. 13049 and other related bills begin another effort to
Increasingly, the Federal Government is asking the states to
share the costs of essential programs. The Administration has recently requested that 10 percent of the cost of federal water reclamation be borne by the states. Adding a large percentage of mill tailings reclamation costs to state budgets would be unfair and possibly delay implementing the cleanup. Most of the mill tailing sites are in rural areas that have difficulty competing with our larger cities for state money.
The western states most affected by the mill tailing costs are also in the midst of the taxpayers revolt as is most of the nation. Colorado presently has a 7 percent statutory limit on annual budget increases which is less than the present rate of inflation. The November Colorado ballot will offer a spending limit as a constitutional provision. Arizona will also have a constitutional amenament on its November ballot. Utah and New Mexico are presently cutting budgets and facing spending limit petition drives.
I urge the Connittee to devise a funding formula that requires a minimum commitment of state funds. This could be accomplished by limiting the states share of costs to a specific percentage of the general revenues. States could also be given credit for the funds already expended in cleaning up uranium mill tailings.
These recommendations would, I believe, greatly facilitate the federal-state efforts.
Thank you for your consideration.
FRANK E. EVANS
COLORADO DOLLAR SHARE:
MAXIMUM COLORADO DOLLAR SHARE U
PERCENT, FORMULA, DOLLAR CAP.
10% with 5 of 1% State
STRAIGHT 10% SHARE
STATE OF NEW MEXICO
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
September 14, 1978
Honorable John D. Dingell
Dear Congressman Dingell:
It is with great concern that I write to you regarding legislation the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee plans to consider in the near future-i.e., H.R. 3650, the "Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act of 1978," as reported out of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power.
As you know, the State of New Mexico has been actively interested and involved in obtaining comprehensive federal legislation in this area. This is due to the concern of our citizens and leaders over the 6,367,000 tons of inactive uranium mill tailings piles covering more than 286 acres in New Mexico. These tailings were generated during the period when there was a lack of federal regulation over the disposal of these wastes, when the mining and milling were conducted in our State for the national defense the so-called federal procurement period. In addition, the restoration costs were not covered at the time of these operations and the State had no control over disposal of waste. Thus, it is the position of the State of New Mexico that the problems stemming from these tailings piles sites are clearly a federal responsibility and that the federal government should pay all costs for adequate disposal.
The unwillingness of the federal government to meet this responsibility is disconcerting to our citizens. It is particularly disconcerting when one realizes that not only is New Mexico suffering the effects of the impact of the front-end of the nuclear cycle but we are also being considered for backend impacts -- that is, nuclear waste disposal. It seems a bit unfair for representatives from states not confronted with such serious problems to arbitrarily determine just how much, if any, responsibility the federal government should bear for past actions leaving states like New Mexico, Utah, and others to carry legal and economic burdens they cannot realistically be expected to handle, in addition to the great environmental risks they already have had to bear.
It is for the above reasons that we respectfully request your careful considera::c. of the legislation to come before the committee on which you sit. H.R. 3650, as presently written, only provides for 90% federal financial responsibility with site designation left to the discretion of the Secretary of the Department of Energy. This formula is not acceptable to our State and we urge you to reconsider these and other provisons so that a truly responsible and comprehensive bill is reported out of Committee and presented to the full House of Representatives.
Thanking you in advance for your assistance in this matter, I am