Thursday, February 14, 2008

House committees aglow for Depleted Uranium bill

Three House committees voted jointly today to advance a bill that would require the Department of Health to monitor air samples in areas adjacent or down wind of military facilities where depleted uranium munitions have been used. HB2076 names Makua Training Area and Schofield Barracks on Oahu, and Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island. The United States Army has recently collected data and completed a study which will be available by late March or early April, according to testimony given at today's hearing.

The bill, however, focuses on the Department of Health's responsibility to protect the public's health from radiation and contaminated dust. The bill requires the DOH to set up air sampling stations to collect data and to work with the John A. Burns School of Medicine and branches of the U.S. armed services to develop rules and standards. The three joint committees were Public Safety & Military Affairs, Health, and Energy & Environmental Protection. The bill will pass on to the Finance Committee. The Department of Health and the Department of Defense supported the intent of the bill, but were concerned about the cost of the stations. All other testimonies were in support or strong support. Rep. Cindy Evans introduced the bill.

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