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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

RECA expansion bill impacts Tennessee, awaits House approval

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Monday, April 29, 2024   

A Knoxville-based environmental group is advocating for the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act expansion, currently awaiting House approval.

It would provide compensation to more states such as Tennessee for radiation exposure from U.S. government nuclear activities such as weapons testing and uranium mining.

Tanvi Kardile, coordinator for the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, said the current act fails to compensate Tennesseans exposed to nuclear waste from the Y-12 weapons complex, a significant part of the Manhattan Project.

"This expansion bill does extend compensation to people in Tennessee," Kardile acknowledged. "It will directly affect us because it would allow people here to receive that compensation for being exposed to radiation from nuclear waste, which is a big issue here. "

Uranium miners, millers, and ore transporters may be eligible for a one-time payment of $100,000. The law would create a grant program for the study of epidemiological research. The research would focus on how uranium mining and milling affects the health of people directly involved, such as the families of miners and millers.

Kardile emphasized the importance of Tennesseans collaborating with lawmakers to work on expanding the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act since the existing program expires in less than sixty days.

"The Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, has to bring up the vote in the House, and he hasn't done that yet," Kardile noted. "He has to bring it up by June, which is when RECA is set to expire. So we do want to urge people to call Speaker Mike Johnson."

Kardile added the U.S. Senate passed the reauthorization of The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act on March 7. However, current benefits are limited to specific regions, excluding areas affected by events such as the Trinity atomic test in New Mexico.

Disclosure: The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance contributes to our fund for reporting on Environment, Nuclear Waste, Peace, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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