Earlier in the Naabik’iyati Committee meeting, the Committee voted to Table legislation 0114-14, which amends the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.
As soon as Naabi votes to take Legislation 0114-14 off tabling motion and return to Naabi, Delegate Leonard Tsosie starts asking, Where is Leona morgan (grassroots activist), david taylor (Navajo Department of Justice), where is everybody? They don’t care about uranium miners’ health. If they did, they wud be in DC to make sure that the best protection of uranium miners’ health is provided.
Phil Harrison has been working on this most of his life. He is only one that cares about uranium miners and some of his friends. We need to know how many miners there are and how many were never compensated. I’d like report on uranium mining workers and to include past problems.
I had an elderly constituents who never worked there but he said that the open pit mining is still there.
NOTE – MORGAN, TAYLOR WERE AMONG SEVERAL INDIVIDUALS THAT OPPOSED DELEGATE LEONARD TSOSIE’S SUBCOMMITTEE, WHICH WAS DRAFTING AGREEMENT WITH URANIUM RESOURCES INC. FOR IN-SITU URANIUM MINING DEMONSTRATION PROJECT NEAR CHURCH ROCK, NM. ON JULY 21, THE COUNCIL APPROVED LEGISLATION 0091-14, WHICH NULLIFIED TSOSIE’S SUBCOMMITTEE.
DELEGATE KATHERINE BENALLY
With as much compensation as the federal government has given, the federal government still has not provided adequate funding for the health needs of our Navajo people who were negatively impacted by uranium.
And I’m concerned about proposed amendments that would benefit law firms. We need an accounting of what was paid to attorneys.
Is there sufficient funds to cover these amendments for additional compensation because I can’t ask citizens to carry the additional funds with taxes.
DELEGATE JONATHAN NEZ
I have consitutent, Alfred Smallcanyon, who asked me to help him because he has not been compensated. and he has health problems. he wants to improve quality of life. And Delegate Katherine Benally is right that some have never been compensated. I appreciate these amendments. Eric and I helped Alfred Smallcanyon and that office closed down that was there to help our Navajo people filed with RECA. So we were told that we needed to go to Shiprock. We made appointment with Shiprock and we took him over there and the office was closed. It was disheartening for Mr. Smallcanyon, who said that he probably would never be compensated.
So we need to move this to Washington, D.C. We will continue to advocate for Mr. Smallcanyon and he’s an elderly guy and so I hope to sees compensation.
SPONSOR, DELEGATE JONATHAN HALE
It’s up to you to Table until we bring Killian Law Firm, which had a contract renewed by the Navajo Department of Justice. There was request by chapters impacted not to renew contract with Killian but NDOJ did. And Killian came here to Council chambers and there were no questions. I wanted questioning of Killian.
the concerns of Delegate Katherine Benally, page 5, line 15, states that by removing “individual being paid” and adding “downwinders” etc. But new language not underlined which would have made new language clear and the new language removes attorney fees.
DELEGATE KATHERINE BENALLY
the amendment I’m looking at removes 2 percent and adds 10 percent for legal fees.
POINT OF PRIVILEGE – DELEGATE LEONARD TSOSIE
we need to make sure that we are very clear about what federal legislative we oppose.
PHIL HARRISON, NAVAJO OFFICE OF URANIUM MINERS
the navajo people said that they don’t pay 10 percent legal fees because the experience is that the client does all the leg work, they pay for medical records and then they give all that information to the attorney and the attorney puts cover letter on and that’s it. so i support 2 percent legal fees. and US Justice Department needs to give us report on how many compensated and how many rejected. And we saw lot of disparities in compensation filings. We believe we have not received justice yet. Other non-Indians receive 90 percent compensation but not Indians. I left Killian Law Firm two years ago and I oppose renewing their contract. We were losing ground. And the amount of money, $50,000, $250,000, 475,000. with these amendments, we are saying that people all got exposed so all receive $150,000, except for workers that go through impairment tests.
DELEGATE LEONARD TSOSIE
because Delegate Danny Simpson tabled once before, we can’t table again so let’s send back to Budget and Finance Committee. I respect Phil Harrison. and where is ENDAM? They don’t care about Navajo people. And let’s have all our recommendations referred back to Health, Education and Human Services Committee and Budget & Finance Committee.
DELEGATE JONATHAN HALE
The federal amendments to RECA is stuck in Committee and so there is time for Health, Education and Human Services Committee and Budget & Finance Committee.
VOTE ON DEFERRING LEGISLATION 0114-14, AMENDMENTS TO RECA, 10 IN FAVOR, 0 OPPOSED
NAABIK’IYATI COMMITTEE ADJOURNS AT 5:27 PM