Hawley Leads Rally for Justice, Demands Compensation for Victims of STL-Area, Nationwide Nuclear Contamination

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Yesterday U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) held a bipartisan rally at the U.S. Capitol with U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), House lawmakers, and victims of nuclear contamination—from the St. Louis area, St. Charles area, and across America—to demand justice and compensation for those who have been harmed by the federal government’s decades of negligence.

“Dating all the way back to the Manhattan Project, the government used the city of St. Louis as a uranium-processing facility, as a major site, and then when that was over […] it allowed it to seep into the groundwater, it allowed it to get into Coldwater Creek, it allowed it get into the soil. Generations of Missourians—children—were poisoned because of the government’s negligence,” said Senator Hawley.

Senators Hawley and Luján secured funding for victims of nuclear contamination by getting an amendment passed in the Senate version of the FY 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) over the summer and, with the help of the victims urging Congress to act, are working with their colleagues to keep this amendment in the final package to be voted on later this year.

“If the government is going to expose its own citizens to radioactive material […] for decades,” Senator Hawley continued, “the government ought to pay the bills of the men and women who have gotten sick because of it. They ought to pay for the survivor benefits of those who have been lost.”

Watch the full video of Wednesday’s press conference below:


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Senator Hawley has consistently advocated on behalf of the Coldwater Creek community and all Missourians impacted by government-caused nuclear contamination. Most recently, Senator Hawley secured President Biden’s endorsement of his legislation to compensate victims of nuclear radiation exposure.

On July 27, 2023, in a strong bipartisan vote, Senator Hawley secured passage of an amendment to the FY 2024 NDAA that would provide compensation to victims of government-caused nuclear contamination. The legislation extends the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) to cover victims of improperly-stored nuclear waste in affected areas in the St. Louis region. The measure—which was cosponsored by U.S. Senators Luján, Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and Schmitt—also reauthorized and strengthened the RECA program to cover more impacted Americans from nuclear tests along with uranium miners.

Earlier in July, Senator Hawley sent a letter to the Department of Energy (DOE), urging additional testing for radioactive contamination at a site in St. Charles County, Mo., after a review of the Weldon Spring site in 2021 offered an extensive critique of the DOE’s cleanup and monitoring efforts there. Senator Hawley also sent a letter to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman, Senator Joe Manchin, urging him to convene a committee hearing to discuss the government-caused nuclear contamination of the St. Louis area. In addition, Senator Hawley penned separate letters to the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), DOE, and Environmental Protection Agency, demanding answers from the government about the nuclear contamination.

In April, Senator Hawley’s legislation mandating the clean up of Jana Elementary School in the Hazelwood School District and radioactive waste testing passed the U.S. Senate and Biden’s Energy Secretary Granholm also vowed to support it.

Earlier in the year, Senator Hawley delivered remarks on the Senate floor, called out the Biden Administration for its lack of action, and pushed the DOE for answers on the radioactive waste found at the school. Senator Hawley also worked with Congresswoman Cori Bush to send a letter to USACE, calling for additional radioactive testing of the Hazelwood School District properties after demanding last October that USACE conduct radioactive testing at Jana Elementary in light of reported contamination. Following the initial reporting, Senator Hawley called on President Biden to declare a federal emergency and make aid available for impacted students and families.