SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOC57451 l
THE STATUS OF NUCLEAR CLAIMS, RELOCATION AND RESETTLEMENT EFFORTS IN THE MARSHALL ISLANDS
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
MAY 11, 1999, WASHINGTON, DC
Serial No. 10626
Printed for the use of the Committee on Resources
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.access.gpo.gov/congress/house
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCor
Committee address: http://www.house.gov/resources
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
DON YOUNG, Alaska, Chairman
W.J. (BILLY) TAUZIN, Louisiana
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
JOHN T. DOOLITTLE, California
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
KEN CALVERT, California
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
BARBARA CUBIN, Wyoming
HELEN CHENOWETH, Idaho
GEORGE P. RADANOVICH, California
WALTER B. JONES, Jr., North Carolina
WILLIAM M. (MAC) THORNBERRY, Texas
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
KEVIN BRADY, Texas
JOHN PETERSON, Pennsylvania
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCRICK HILL, Montana
BOB SCHAFFER, Colorado
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
MARK E. SOUDER, Indiana
GREG WALDEN, Oregon
DON SHERWOOD, Pennsylvania
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
MIKE SIMPSON, Idaho
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
GEORGE MILLER, California
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
BRUCE F. VENTO, Minnesota
DALE E. KILDEE, Michigan
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
OWEN B. PICKETT, Virginia
FRANK PALLONE, Jr., New Jersey
CALVIN M. DOOLEY, California
CARLOS A. ROMERO-BARCELÓ, Puerto Rico
ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD, Guam
PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Rhode Island
ADAM SMITH, Washington
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
CHRIS JOHN, Louisiana
DONNA CHRISTIAN-CHRISTENSEN, Virgin Islands
RON KIND, Wisconsin
JAY INSLEE, Washington
GRACE F. NAPOLITANO, California
TOM UDALL, New Mexico
MARK UDALL, Colorado
JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York
LLOYD A. JONES, Chief of Staff
ELIZABETH MEGGINSON, Chief Counsel
CHRISTINE KENNEDY, Chief Clerk/Administrator
T.E. MANASE MANSUR, Republican Professional Staff
JOHN LAWRENCE, Democratic Staff Director
MARIE FABRIZIO-HOWARD, Democatic Professional Staff
C O N T E N T S
Hearing held May 11, 1999
Statement of Members:
Faleomavaega, Hon. Eni F.H., a Delegate in Congress from American Samoa
Prepared statement of
Miller, Hon. George, a Representative in Congress from the State of California
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPrepared statement of
Underwood, Hon. Robert A., a Delegate in Congress from Guam
Young, Hon. Don, a Representative in Congress from the State of Alaska
Statement of Witnesses:
Boyce, Ralph L., Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, East Asian and the Pacific Affairs, Department of State
Prepared statement of
Campbell, Kurt M., Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs, International Security Affairs
Prepared statement of
deBrum, Hon. Oscar, Chairman, Nuclear Claims Tribunal
Prepared statement of
Letter to Banny deBrum
deBrum, Tony A., Minister of Finance, Republic of the Marshall Islands
Prepared statement of
Hills, Howard L., prepared statement of
Maddison, Marie L., Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Republic of the Marshall Islands
Prepared statement of
Mauro, Dr. John, Sanford Cohen and Associates
Prepared statement of
Muller, Philip, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Republic of the Marshall Islands
Prepared statement of
People of Utirik, The, prepared statement of
Richardson, Allan C.B., Scientific Consultant to the People of Enewetak
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPrepared statement of
Robison, William, prepared statement of
Seligman, Paul J., M.D., M.P.H., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health Studies, Department of Energy
Prepared statement of
Letters to Mr. Muller
Stayman, Allen P., Director, Office of Insular Affairs, Department of the Interior
Prepared statement of
Additional material supplied:
Balos, Senator Henchi, Bikini Atoll Representative, Marshall Islands Nitijela, prepared statement of
deBrum, Hon. Banny, Ambassador, The Marshall Islands, letter to Mr. Young
John, Senator Ismael, Mayor Neptali Peter and Davor Z. Pevec, prepared statement of
Pinho, Kirtley, President, Majuro Chamber of Commerce, letter to President Imata Kabua
RMI Government, response to Mr. Boyce's testimony
Weisgall, Jonathan M., prepared statement of
HEARING ON STATUS OF NUCLEAR CLAIMS, RELOCATION AND RESETTLEMENT EFFORTS IN THE MARSHALL ISLANDS
TUESDAY, MAY 11, 1999
House of Representatives,
Committee on Resources,
The Committee met, pursuant to call, at 11 a.m. in Room 1324, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Don Young [chairman of the Committee] presiding.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF HON. DON YOUNG, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ALASKA
Mr. YOUNG. The Committee will come to order. The Committee is meeting today to hear testimony on the status of the nuclear claims and relocation resettlement in the Marshall Islands under rule 4G of the Committee rules. Any oral or opening statements in this hearing is limited to the Chairman and the Ranking Minority Member. This will allow us to hear from our witnesses who have traveled so far. If any other Members have statements, they can be included in the hearing record under unanimous consent.
Today the Committee on Resources hearing will be focussed on the status of nuclear claims, relocation, and resettlement of the four atolls in the Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap, and Utirik and other radiological rehabilitation of the atolls.
These are complex issues involving scientific research, logistic engineering problems, financial and social challenges. However, above all else, the most important to the Committee are the people of the Marshall Islands who directly or indirectly were adversely impacted by the nuclear testing inadvertently.
Congress has oversight responsibility for Federal funds designated for the brief settlement and relocation of the people of the Marshall Islands who were affected by the United States' nuclear testing. Federal funding also provides for medical treatment compensation for nuclear-related injuries or damages and radiological rehabilitation of certain atolls.
This funding has been provided by also a series of trust funds and problematic assistance. The United States and the Marshall Islands have a special relationship based on decades of the United Nations trusteeship. Today the U.S. and RMI are separate sovereign nations in free association in our Compact of Free Association. Significant portions of the compact relate to the issues before the Committee today.
In fact, this Committee held over 30 hearings during the consideration of the compact legislation. Many of those hearings attempted to identify the extent of the impact the U.S. nuclear testing program on the people and property of the Marshall Islands.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Due to the uncertainty of the safety of resettlement in certain atolls, Congress included a provision that provided for additional scientific tests, agriculture food assistance, and the possibility for additional monetary and other assistance in the future.
It was understood that the settlement, relocation, and radiological rehabilitation could present unforeseen challenges that might warrant additional assistance by the United States. Since the enactment of the compact in 1986, Congress has provided additional funding for those purposes.
I want to thank the delegation from the Marshall Islands who have traveled to Washington to participate in the Committee's hearing and briefing yesterday and the hearing today. Your presentations yesterday and today will provide valuable information to Congress regarding the status of nuclear claims, resettlement, and relocation efforts.
The independent scientific testimony and administration position statements today will also add to the record regarding the progress to date of these areas. I also want to thank the delegation for the fine hospitality shown to myself and to the Committee as we visited out there.
We are extremely pleased with the visit that we had and it was very informative.
[The information may be found at the end of the hearing.]
Mr. YOUNG. At this time, I will recognize the gentleman from California, the Ranking Member, Mr. Miller.
STATEMENT OF HON. GEORGE MILLER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. MILLER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman; and thank you very much for conducting these hearings. In February of 1994, I conducted a lengthy investigation and held hearings because it became known to me that many of the facts surrounding the nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific during the 1950s had been withheld from Congress, the people of the Marshall Islands, and the public.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Information I received prior to the 1994 hearings strongly suggested that many people were affected by the fallout and the contamination of their homelands, many more than had been previously disclosed. This information caused me to push for the release of all pertinent information held by the U.S. Department of Energy on the testing program and the magnitude of its effects on the inhabitants of the local islands. This resulted in thousands of pages of documents being released to the honor of my government, and today we are here in part because of what have we have learned from those documents.
I hope the witnesses from the RMI will let us know how that process of receiving documents from the Department of Energy is going. Title 9 of the subsidiary agreement of section 177 of the Compact for Free Association contains language allowing for a request to the Congress for the compact renegotiations under what is known as a change in circumstances.
There is a finding that injuries that occurred were not or could not reasonably have been identified as of the enactment of the compact, that such injuries rendered the provisions of the agreement manifestly inadequate. I realize that this is not an immediate purpose of today's hearings, but I want those who are here today from the administration or from the RMI to know that I am very interested in what these newly released documents show us about what factions of the Federal Government knew and withheld over a decade during the compact negotiations.
This morning we will hear from testimony about how the United States-RMI relationship is proceeding specifically with regards to nuclear claims tribunal, relocation and resettlement issues; and I look forward to hearing from the administration on how the program is set up pursuant to the compact are working and if they are adequate to meet the needs and the goals.
Similarly, the Committee needs to know from the representatives of the Marshall Islands how cleanup and resettlement are proceeding from their perspective as well as from the comfort level of the U.S. Government studies and data. This relationship is a two-way street.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Much responsibility lies with the United States to compensate the people of the Marshall Islands to provide adequate health care, rehabilitate lands damaged during the testing program. The Republic of the Marshall Islands, however, also has responsibilities, as a sovereign government agreed to do.
Our two nations are intertwined and as we go into the next millennium, I look forward to that relationship to continue to the betterment of both peoples. I welcome both the administration to this hearing and to my old friends who have traveled a great distance from the Marshall Islands to be here today and to share their concerns and their thoughts.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Miller follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. GEORGE MILLER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
In February of 1994 I conducted a lengthy investigation and held a hearing because it had become known to me that many facts surrounding the nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific during the 1950's had been withheld from Congress, the people of the Marshall Islands, and the public. This was not, and is not, acceptable to me. Prior to that time we had all been told that only 267 people were exposed to fallout from the BRAVO tests, and that exposure was an accident caused by a last minute shift in the wind and failure to anticipate the bomb would yield so much power.
Information I received prior to the '94 hearing strongly suggested that many more people were affected by the fallout and contamination of their homelands. This information caused me to push for the release of all pertinent information held by the U.S. Department of Energy on the testing program and the magnitude of its effects on the inhabitants of the local islands. This has resulted in thousands of pages of documents being released to the RMI government. Today we are here, in part, because of what has been learned from those documents. I hope the witnesses from the RMI will let us know how the process of receiving documents from the Department of Energy is going.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Title IX of the susidiary agreement to Section 177 of the Compact of Free Association contains language allowing for a request to Congress for compact renegotiation under what is known as ''changed circumstances'' is there is a finding that injuries occurred that ''were not and could not reasonably have been identified as of (enactment of the compact) and that such injuries rendered the provisions of this Agreement manifestly inadequate.'' I realize this is not the immediate purpose of today's hearing but I want those here today from the Administration and the RMI that I am very interested in what these newly released documents show about what factions of the Federal Government knew and witheld during over a decade of compact negotiation.
This morning we will hear testimony about how the U.S.-RMI relationship is proceeding specifically with regard to the Nuclear Claims Tribunal, relocation, and resettlement issues. I look forward to hearing from the Administration on how the programs set up pursuant to the Compact are working and if they are adequate to meet the needs and goals. Similarly, this Committee needs to know from the RMI representatives how cleanup and resettlement are proceeding from their perspective as well as their comfort level with U.S. government studies and data.
This relationship is a two way streetmuch responsibility lies with the United States to compensate the RMI peopleto provide adequate health care and rehabilitate lands damaged during the testing program. The RMI, however, also has responsibilities it has, as a sovereign government, agreed to do. Our two nations are intertwined and as we go into the next millennium I look for this relationship to continue to the betterment of both our peoples.
I welcome my old friends who have traveled a great distance from the Marshall Islands to be here with us today and look forward to hearing from you.
Mr. YOUNG. I thank the gentleman. Now we will call the first panel up. Mr. Ralph Boyce, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State; Mr. Allen Stayman, director of Insular Affairs, Interior Department; the Honorable Kurt Campbell, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Asian Pacific Affairs; the Honorable Paul Seligman, M.D., M.P.H., Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health Services, Department of Energy.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I believe we will go right down the line. Mr. Ralph Boyce will be the first to testify. I want to remind our witnesses that I would be somewhat lenient, but try to limit your oral statements to 5 minutes. You can give as long of a written statement that you wish to do so. But in respect to the other witnesses, trying to keep it to 5 minutes is necessary. Mr. Boyce.
STATEMENT OF RALPH L. BOYCE, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE, EAST ASIAN AND THE PACIFIC AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Mr. BOYCE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I do have a written statement which I will submit for the record, and I will try to summarize it in under 5 minutes at this time. As Deputy Assistant Secretary of State responsible for the freely associated states as well as the region of southeast Asia and the rest of Oceania, I am pleased to have the opportunity to appear before the Committee with my colleagues from Interior, Energy and Defense.
The United States' relationship with the Republic of the Marshall Islands, one of the three freely associated states, is a unique and important part of our posture in the Pacific, and the political relationship itself is defined in the Compact of Free Association. The compact established a special relationship between the U.S. and the Republic of the Marshall Islands that is distinct from other nations.
In addition to providing U.S. defense for the RMI and access to U.S. Federal domestic programs, the compact provides just under $1 billion in U.S. funding through the initial 15-year period of economic assistance. Mr. Chairman, we are approaching the 13th anniversary of the compact with the RMI, and under the terms of that agreement some elements will be up for renegotiation in October.
We have established an office of the special negotiator in the Department of State to be led by my colleague, Allen Stayman, to my left here. As we continue preparations for that renegotiation, we are reviewing the effectiveness of the various U.S. programs and activities and assistance in the RMI.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC While both sides have learned a great deal over the past 13 years, quite frankly there are some troubling signs regarding the commitment of the RMI to some of the goals of the compact. In particular, the RMI has what would have to be termed a spotty record of reform on the economic side hampered by an inefficient public sector, rising unemployment, and declining per capita income.
The government has exhausted its financial holdings and borrowing capacity. The foreign investment climate is, quite frankly, not attractive. Controversy surrounds the government's management of funds established to provide compensation for claims related to the period 1946 to 1958 nuclear testing program of the United States.
There are also complaints that there has been some manipulation of the criteria by which claimants are determined to be eligible for programs supported by these funds and the subscriber base has been inflated quite dramatically.
Mr. Chairman, unique to the RMI is the U.S. obligation regarding the nuclear claims. As you know, the U.S. carried out 66 nuclear tests at Bikini and Enewetak atolls between 1946 and 1958. These atolls were evacuated prior to testing.
However, on February 28, 1954, a thermonuclear device code named BRAVO was detonated at the Bikini atoll. The energy yield of this experimental device exceeded predictions; and sudden wind changes sent the cloud of radioactive debris unexpectedly eastward over land rather than over open seas to the north. Consequently the populations of Rongelap and Utirik were showered with radioactive debris for two to three days before being evacuated to the Kwajalein atoll for medical care.
The United States has accepted full responsibility for the health and environmental damage caused by the U.S. nuclear testing program under the oft-cited section 177 of the compact. The implementation agreement of the compact with the RMI states that this is the, quote, ''full settlement of all claims past, present, and future,'' unquote, related to nuclear testing and at the time that the RMI agreed to the sum of $150 million.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC However, the compact provides that under certain circumstances the RMI may submit a request for Congress for its consideration by recognizing, of course, that this provision does not commit Congress to appropriate funds. So in addition to the $150 million that is in the compact settlement, the United States has provided about $300 million in various compensation, medical care, food supplies, environmental cleanup, and funds for resettlement.
My written testimony contains a more precise breakdown of these figures. As I mentioned, the compact allows the RMI to submit a request for additional compensation to the U.S. Congress if there are changes in circumstances. We have heard for some time there may be such a request.
We have given our assurance to the Marshall Islands government that we will do everything that we can to assist Congress in considering such a request should it be submitted.
Regarding the relationship between nuclear issues and the renegotiation of the compact, Mr. Chairman, we believe that the negotiations should be limited to what the Congress and the compact call for.
Just summarizing the end here, sir, thank you for the opportunity to present testimony to this Committee at this time, and I will gladly answer any questions that you might have after the other witnesses have spoken on behalf of the Department of State. Thank you.
Mr. YOUNG. Thank you, Mr. Boyce. Again, until I rap the gavel you don't have to wrap it up. I just meant as sort of a reminder, those little lights there. I do thank you.
Mr. BOYCE. That was close to a wrap, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Boyce follows:]
STATEMENT OF RALPH BOYCE, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY, BUREAU OF EAST ASIAN AND PACIFIC ISLAND AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you Mr. Chairman. I am pleased to have the opportunity to appear before the Committee with my colleagues from the Departments of Interior, Energy and Defense. I look forward to discussing our bilateral relations with the Republic of the Marshall Islands, specifically with regards to the relocation and resettlement of the inhabitants of the four atolls affected by atmospheric nuclear testing, Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap and Utirik. My responsibilities as Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs include the Freely Associated States, specifically the Republic of the Marshall Islands. I have not yet had the opportunity to visit the Marshall Islands. A trip scheduled for earlier this year proved unworkable. However, I hope to include the RMI in my travels, certainly before the end of the year.
Background on Our Unique Relationship
The United States' relationship with the Republic of the Marshall Islands, one of three Freely Associated States, is unique and one which is an important part of our posture in the Pacific. The Freely Associated States (the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau) were formerly part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. These islands were administered by the United States after 1947 under a United Nations Strategic Mandate. In the 1970s the United States entered into discussion with representatives of the various islands on their future-political status, a process which had different outcomes for the four island groupings in the Trust Territory. The RMI chose to become a sovereign nation in free association with the United States. In June 1983, we reached an agreement with the RMIa Compact of Free Association. Approved and enacted into law by Congress in January 1986, and endorsed by the United Nations later that year, our Compact with the RMI officially went into effect on October 21 of 1986.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Compact established a special relationship between the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, one which differs from that with other nations in several distinct ways. Although the RMI is a sovereign power, the U.S. provides the people of the RMI access to direct services of over forty U.S. Federal domestic programs and to U.S. Government funding for budgetary and technical assistance grants at a per capita rate greater than U.S. assistance to almost any other foreign government. We take responsibility for the security and defense of the RMI in return for foreclosure of third country access to the Marshall Islands for military purposeswhat we have called ''strategic denial.'' Also, we give RMI citizens the right to work and live in the United States as nonimmigrant residents within the parameters laid out in the Compacts.
Compact of Free Association to Be Negotiated
We are approaching the 13th anniversary of our 15-year Compact with the RMI and, under the terms of the Compact, some elements of the agreement will soon be up for renegotiation. Under the terms of the Compact, negotiations should begin in October 1999, two years before the 15th anniversary of the Compact (October 2001). We are establishing an Office of the Special Negotiator to be located in the Department of State which will house the interagency team that will conduct these negotiations.
Why did we enter into the Compact in the first place and why are we renegotiating it? The U.S. entered into the Compact of Free Association, first, because the U.S. was obligated as administrator of the U.N. mandated Trust Territories, ''to promote the development of the inhabitants of the trust territories toward self-government or independence as may be appropriate to the particular circumstances of the trust territory and its peoples, and the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned.''
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Second, in the Cold War environment of the mid-1980s, the United States was keen to bolster its security posture in the Pacific. Within the framework of the Compact, the principle of strategic denial guaranteed the U.S. exclusive military access to these countries and their surrounding waterways. Third, our agreement with the RMI ensured continued access to U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA)/Kwajalein Missile Range, and our agreement with the Republic of Palau, the last of the Freely Associated States to sign a Compact, included the right to develop a military base should the U.S. need an alternative to the Philippines.
Kwajalein Missile Range is considered to be a ''national asset'' and is currently the premier facility in the world for testing Theater Missile Defense. We have invested over $4 billion in this facility. The lease for Kwajalein Atoll expires in 2001. However, our Compact with the RMI provides for automatic renewal rights for an additional 15 years if the U.S. chooses to do so.
As we move towards renegotiations, we are reviewing the effectiveness of U.S. programs and assistance in the RMI. While both sides have learned much over the past 13 years, there are troubling signs regarding the commitment of the RMI to the goals of the Compact. The RMI has a spotty record of reform, hampered by an inefficient public sector, rising unemployment, and declining per capita income. The government has exhausted its financial holdings and borrowing capacity. The foreign investment climate is not an attractive one. Much controversy surrounds the government's management of funds established to provide compensation for claims related to the 1946-58 U.S. Nuclear Testing Program. There are complaints that manipulation of the criteria by which claimants are determined eligible for programs supported by these funds has led to a huge inflation of the subscriber base.
U.S. Responsibilities to the RMI
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Regarding U.S. Government obligations to the RMI, we have fulfilled our responsibility under the United Nations mandate to prepare the territory for self-governance. The RMI is self-governing and responsible for its own foreign affairs. We have exchanged diplomatic representatives with the RMI and the government of the Marshall Islands has done so with other nations besides the U.S. The RMI also holds membership in international organizations including the U.N., IMF and the World Bank, and regional organizations such as the South Pacific Forum and the Asian Development Bank.
Under the original Compact legislation, the United States pledged to help each of the three Freely Associated States move toward economic self-sufficiency. Our provision of Federal aid and services has been partially successful in fostering economic self-sufficiency. For many reasons the RMI has made slow progress in undertaking the reforms necessary to transform its economy. As we move towards negotiations, the Congress and the Administration are faced with the challenge of addressing past policy failures on both sides in order to improve RMI economic performance.
U.S. Obligation for Nuclear Claims
Unique to the RMI is the U.S. obligation relating to nuclear claims. The U.S. carried out 66 underwater and atmospheric nuclear tests at Bikini and Enewetak atolls in the Marshall Islands between 1946-58. Two atolls, Bikini, at the time with a population of 167, and Enewetak, population of 145, were evacuated prior to testing. On February 28, 1954, a thermonuclear device, code-named Bravo, was detonated at Bikini Atoll. The energy yield of this experimental device exceeded predictions and sudden wind changes sent the cloud of radioactive debris unexpectedly eastward over land rather than over open seas to the north. Consequently, the populations of Rongelap (86 people) and Utirik (167 people) were showered with radioactive debris for two to three days before being evacuated to Kwajalein Atoll for medical care.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In Section 177 of the Compact of Free Association (Public Law 99-239 enacted October 1986), the U.S. accepted responsibility for compensation owing to citizens of the RMI for loss or damage to property or person of RMI citizens resulting from the USG nuclear testing program between 1946 and 1958. The subsidiary agreement implementing this provision of the Compact constituted the ''full settlement of all claims, past, present and future,'' related to nuclear testing. However, the Compact provides that, under certain circumstances, the RMI may submit a request for additional compensation to the Congress for its consideration, recognizing that this provision ''does not commit the Congress of the United States to authorize and appropriate funds.'' We have heard for some time that the RMI is preparing to submit a request for additional compensation to Congress for its consideration, and we will cooperate with Congress if, as we expect, Congress asks for our views on the request.
The U.S. has provided over half a billion dollars in compensation to the RMI for the U.S. nuclear testing program through congressional appropriations and Federal services, such as the Department of Energy medical health program and the U.S. Department of Agriculture surplus food assistance. Compensation and assistance has included:
$150 million in 1986 under the Compact to create a Trust Fund for the health care and compensation for nuclear claims for the populations of the four atolls affected by the Nuclear Testing ProgramBikini, Enewetak, Rongelap and Utirik. The government of the Marshall Islands established the trust fund and a Nuclear Claims Tribunal to adjudicate compensation claims. The claims paid have totaled approximately $63 million thus far to some 1,549 individuals.
In addition to the Trust Fund, the U.S. has provided in compensation, support and medical care:
For Bikini: $6 million in 1978 and $110 million in 1982 in trust funds for the people of Bikini; $1.4 million in ex gratia payment in 1979, $1.754 million in food commodities from 1979-84 through USDA.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCFor Enewetak: $102,000 compensation for removal in 1969; $20 million for clean up in 1977, $129 million for clean up activities in 1976, $12.4 million for resettlement in 1977, $20 million in agricultural support from 1980-96, $33.895 million in 1989 for the rehabilitation and resettlement of Enewetak, and an additional $10 million for the resettlement of Enjebi, part of the Enewetak atoll.
For Rongelap: $11,000 to each Rongelapese exposed to fall out was paid in 1965; $6.42 million added to the Rongelap Compact Trust Fund in 1996.
For Utirik: $1,000 to each Utrikese exposed to fall out paid in 1977; $25,000 to each Utirikese who underwent thyroid surgery.
All four atolls participate in the following programs:
$3.8 million in food commodities: from 1988-94 through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to compensate the four-nuclear affected atolls for decreased agricultural capabilities resulting from the nuclear testing program. Present annual funding is $581,000. Continued assistance over the next five years is likely.
$80.4 million from 1980-1997 for special medical care and treatment of the inhabitants of the four nuclear-affected atolls, environmental monitoring of the lands and radiological dose assessment monitoring through the Department of Energy for the radiation-exposed populationsoriginally 253 peopleof Rongelap and Utirik. Today the Department of Energy Marshall Islands Medical Program serves 238 people (130 exposed persons and a control group of 107) with the cooperative support of the Departments of Defense and Interior.
Two million dollars annually under the ''Four Atoll Health Care Program'' administered by the Department of the Interior for the people of the atolls of Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap and Utirik who were affected by the consequences of the U.S. nuclear testing program, pursuant to the program described in Public Law 95-134 and Public Law 96-205 and their descendants (and any other persons identified as having been so affected if such identification occurs in the manner described in such public laws).
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Additional Compensation Possible
Although, under the Compact, Section 177 constitutes the full settlement of all claims, it also allows the RMI to submit a request for additional compensation to the U.S. Congress for its consideration if
(a) loss or damage resulting from the Nuclear Testing Program arises or is discovered which could not reasonably have been identified as of the effective date of the agreement, and
(b) such injuries render the provisions of the Agreement ''manifestly inadequate.''
We have given our assurance to the Marshall Islands government that the Administration will assist Congress in considering its request should it decide to submit a request which meets these criteria.
Resettlement of Marshall Islands Atoll Communities
The U.S. takes seriously its commitment to resettle and rehabilitate those communities injured by the nuclear tests. From a legal and humanitarian standpoint, the various agencies tasked with this undertaking have carried out their work with commitment.
The U.S. conducted 43 nuclear tests at Enewetak Atoll between April 1948 and 1958. In April 1980, Enewetak Atoll was returned to the Enewetak and today more than 900 Enewetakese reside there.
Is it safe to live in Enewetak Atoll? We believe so but that is a decision left up to the people of Enewetak to make based on the environmental data collected at Enewetak Atoll by the Department of Energy monitoring program. This data, coupled with the use of the latest dose models and international accepted intervention strategies, provide a sound basis upon which the Enewetak people and local government councils can make resettlement decisions regarding any island in the Enewetak Atoll chain.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The U.S. conducted clean up operations at Enewetak Atoll from 1977-80. Radiologically contaminated soil and debris present on many islands in the atoll were collected and deposited on Runit Island in a crater surrounded by a concrete key-wall and covered with a concrete cap. The crater is known as Cactus Crater and the concrete capped nuclear container as Runit Dome.
The National Academy of Science in a 1980 report said the Cactus Crater structure and its contents presented no credible health hazard to the people of Enewatak, either now or in the future. Subsequent monitoring of Runit Dome by the Defense Nuclear Agency and the Department of Energy found the dome to be structurally sound. It is the consensus of the USG and the people of Enewetak that Runit island should remain quarantined indefinitely because of the possible presence of plutonium at subsurface levels which might not have been located and removed during cleanup. This position stands as a precautionary measure despite DOE resuspension studies which show that such a quarantine is not necessary.
Rongelap atoll was showered by nuclear fallout when the U.S. detonated Bravo at Bikini Atoll on February 28, 1954. The local population (67 persons) was exposed to the fallout for two to three days before being evacuated to Kwajalein Atoll by the U.S. Navy. Nineteen Rongelapese temporarily residing on Ailingnae also were irradiated. The Rongelapese were returned to their island in 1957 where they remained until 1985. In 1985, the Rongelapese chose to move their community to Mejatto Island in Kwajalein Atoll. Following their evacuation to Kwajalein, Congress appropriated funds for the special care and treatment of the exposed Rongelap population, which has continued to this day under the DOE Marshall Islands Program. The Rongelapese are also eligible to receive medical care under the Section 177 Health Care program for the four affected atoll communities.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In 1965, the Atomic Energy Commission granted a payment of $11,000 to each exposed Rongelapese. In addition, each Rongelapese exposed who underwent thyroid surgery received $25,000. Under the Compact, Congress appropriated $37.5 million to the Rongelap Distribution Authority to be held in trust for the people of Rongelap. In addition, Rongalapese may request compensation from the Republic of the Marshall Islands Nuclear Claims Tribunal for personal injury and property damage claims.
In 1994, the National Academy of Sciences found that with appropriate mitigative measures, the people of Rongelap could return and live safely in their homeland. In February 1999 the Department of Energy executed a Memo of Understanding with the Rongelap Atoll Local Government for an environmental monitoring support plan for Rongelap Resettlement Activities. We have proposed a similar memo of understanding with the Enewetak/Ujelang Local Government Council.
The 176 persons from Utirik atoll were similarly affected and evacuated. However, it was found that they had experienced minimal effects from the fall-out and that further examination was not necessary. A 1954 Atomic Energy Commission survey team working with the High Commission of the Trust Territory decided the Utirikese could return to their homeland and would be furnished with food and water from outside the area. In May of that year the Utirikese returned. Department of Energy carries out environmental radiological monitoring of Utirik and health monitoring of the inhabitants. Today 450 people reside on Utirik and there is no significant radiation problem on the atoll that requires any remediation.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The U.S. conducted 23 nuclear tests on Bikini Atoll between June 1946-58. one hundred sixty-seven people were evacuated before the tests began. One hundred twenty-five returned between 1972-74. Four years later, August 1978, the USG asked the Bikinians to leave due to concern that local food consumption was increasing cesium-137 body burdens and approaching levels in excess of internationally accepted radiation protection guidelines. (At the time, 500 mrem per year per individual dose). One hundred forty Bikinians departed.
There are now about 2,000 Bikinians, 650 living on Majuro, 125 on Ebeye, 1,000 on Kili and others in various locations including the U.S. The Bikini community held a groundbreaking ceremony on the island anticipating their resettlement in March 1997. About 25 have returned to Eneu, one of the islands in the Atoll. The Department of Energy's funded study by the National Academy of Sciences in 1994 recommends interventions but notes that the island can be inhabited again without increased risk to residents from residual radionuclides in the soil, if certain mitigative measures are taken. An IAEA study published in 1998 supports this.
The existing trust fund, now valued at some $110 million, should be sufficient for resettlement if the Bikini community decides to employ the remediation strategy of applying potassium to land area. However, another option, scraping the island, may be more costly.
The people of the four atolls affected by the nuclear testing in the Marshall IslandsBikini, Enewetak, Rongelap and Utirikfind themselves in very different circumstances. In Rongelap, the leaders co-signed with Interior Secretary Babbitt their resettlement agreement in September 1996 and have since been able to return to Rongelap Island. Their restored airfield is in use and public facilities and homes have been constructed. Most of the people of Enewetak and Utirik have returned to their home islands. The people of Bikini in April 1998 sought a guarantee from Interior Secretary that the atoll is safe for resettlement. The answer is that it is for the people of Bikini to decide. Based on a September 1996 draft International Atomic Energy Agency Advisory Group report on radiological conditions at Bikini, we can say that Bikini Island is ready for permanent habitation as long as certain remedial measures are fully implemented.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We must distinguish the legislated responsibility for the resettlement of the peoples of Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap and Utirik Atolls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Interior, from that of the general responsibility of the Department of State for the conduct of bilateral relations with the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Although the agencies have different roles, they mustand dowork together closely. The issue of resettlement is a sensitive one, especially to the populations of the individual atolls. Individual political leaders may take it upon themselves to promote a particular position outside of the framework of the RMI government. We remain open to all voices on this important matter and do not underestimate our responsibility. The U.S. Ambassador to the RMI, Joan Plaisted, has an ongoing dialogue with representatives of all of the atolls. Our role is to ensure that all of the people of the RMI receive what they are entitled to under the Compact without regard to individual or local political pressure.
To that end, the following issues will have to be addressed by the U.S. Government in the coming years:
Changed circumstances: The U.S. Government will have to assess the circumstances when the RMI submits its request but we do not want to prejudge the outcome. The RMI has not yet submitted a request identifying changed circumstances and, under the Compact, Congress has the lead in considering any such request.
Section 177 Management and the Nuclear Claims Commission: Section 177 is mandated for a pool of people who were exposed to radiation and their offspring. The Compact, including its subsidiary agreements, provides the terms for the full settlement of the nuclear' claims, and disbursements should be in accordance with that agreement. To the extent that the RMI considers that changed circumstances justify increasing the number of people who should be receiving compensation, or justify more funding for the Nuclear Claims Commission, those requests should be made to Congress in the process provided for in the Compact.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCFinally, regarding the relationship between these issues and Compact renegotiation: The Compact negotiations should be limited to what Congress and the Compact called for. Issues involving nuclear claims should remain separate and be dealt with in accordance with the terms of the Compact, including the subsidiary agreement and, if appropriate, through a request to Congress for consideration based on changed circumstances.
Mr. YOUNG. All right. Very good. Next is Allen Stayman, director of the Office of Insular Affairs, Department of Interior. Mr. Stayman.
STATEMENT OF ALLEN P. STAYMAN, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF INSULAR AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Mr. STAYMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The keystone of the United States policy regarding the nuclear testing program is section 177 of the Compact of Free Association. Here the United States, ''accepts the responsibility for compensation owing to citizens of the Marshall Islands for loss or damage resulting from the nuclear testing program.''
In fulfilling this obligation, the United States provided the Marshall Islands with $150 million to create an independent nuclear claims fund. Article 2 requires the fund manager to disperse fixed amounts for health, medical surveillance, and radiological monitoring and to the four atolls as payment for claims of injury.
Section 8 of this article obliges the governments of the four atolls to establish individual subtrust funds with all or a portion of these proceeds to ''provide perpetual source of income,'' for the people of the atolls.
Article 4 of the subsidiary agreement requires the Marshall Islands government to establish a claims tribunal to determine awards for further compensation. Although section 177 provides for the full and final settlement claims for this payment of $150 million, article 9 provides that the Marshall Islands government may petition the Congress for additional compensation based on changed circumstances. The Marshall Islands government has indicated its intent to file such a petition, and the administration stands ready to assist the Congress in its consideration of such a request.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In addition to section 177, Congress authorized and funded several programs including resettlement programs for Bikini, Enjebi, and Rongelap, a USDA surplus food program, the work of the Department of Energy, and the Department of the Interior's agricultural and food program for Enewetak.
My colleagues from the Department of Energy will describe their program, and I would like to summarize briefly these other programs' effect on the four atolls.
Regarding Bikini, the Congress appropriated $90 million in 1988 for resettlement which was added to the $20 million appropriated in 1985. The legislative history notes that ''these funds are provided to the Bikinians so that they and not the United States government will be responsible for the management and the decisions involved in returning to their homeland.''
Representatives of Bikini have sought to know whether the United States government backs the 1996 report of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Radiological Conditions in Bikini. In a 1998 meeting with the Bikini leadership, Secretary Babbitt emphasized that the IAEA report was credible, reliable, and detailed and that the people of Bikini needed to consider the report's findings and then arrive at their own decision regarding the process and standards for resettlement.
Regarding Enewetak, the nuclear testing program heavily contaminated the atoll's northern half, and the southern islands were mostly covered by concrete for facilities used by the testing program. From 1977 to 1980, the United States government undertook a cleanup and resettlement program which included the atoll's revegetation. Revegetation continues under the Department of the Interior funded program.
For as long as the people of Enewetak need substantial amounts of off-island food, there will be a continuing need for supplemental Federal support such as provided by the USDA and the Department of the Interior programs. The Compact Act also established a $7.5 million resettlement trust fund for the Enewetak community of Enjebi island.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Regarding Rongelap, a $45 million agreement to assist the people of Rongelap with resettlement was signed in 1996, and in 1998 the Rongelap government contracted for phase 1 of resettlement, which includes establishment of a base camp, the construction of essential infrastructure, and completion of remediation recommendations of the independent scientific management team.
The people of Utrik have the least significant rehabilitation problems and have secured the highest level of resettlement among the four atolls. The Congress did not provide a separate authorization for a resettlement program. Since 1993, the Office of Insular Affairs has reached a $45 million resettlement agreement with the government of Rongelap, regularly approved the budgets of Bikini and Rongelap governments, worked with the National Academy of Sciences and the Marshall Islands government nationwide radiological study, and has met regularly with the representatives from the four atolls.
Together we join our colleagues at Defense, Energy, and State in the faithful and active implementation of Federal responsibilities under the compact. Thank you.
Mr. YOUNG. Thank you, Mr. Stayman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Stayman follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 1 TO 10 HERE
Mr. YOUNG. Dr. Campbell. You can wake up now. We are ready to go.
STATEMENT OF KURT M. CAMPBELL, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR ASIAN AND PACIFIC AFFAIRS, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. CAMPBELL. Just writing a last note, Mr. Chairman. I wanted to have it exactly right.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for this opportunity. I, too, will submit my testimony for the record and just make a couple of general remarks to save time for the panel for questions. I think, as you know, Mr. Chairman, and colleagues, that the Department of Defense has an absolutely unique role and unique responsibilities when it comes to the islands and the compact as a whole.
My testimony itself deals with the nuclear inheritance issues, and I will leave you to pursue that further if there is interest. I just want to say as we approach the renewal of discussions, negotiations about the compact, I believe that it is in the strong national security interest of the United States to maintain the full range of military access and security engagement with the islands.
It is our view that as we head into a critical period of testing and development of critical space systems and other aspects of the theater missile defense program, which both Congress and the administration feels is in the strong national interest of the United States and our key allies, that the role of the nations and the island nations will be absolutely critical in the next several years.
I must say that in the last several months and years that we have endeavored to do these tests, and when we have required more land and more area, that the Marshallese and the inhabitants of Kwajalein have been very responsible and very responsive when we have needed further area under short-term needs.
Let me make one final point, and then I will end before my time is up. I want to speak for a few minutes, if I can, about the central air services. Mr. Chairman, Congressman Miller in his opening statement made, I think, a very generous point that many members of the delegation, particularly from the Marshall Islands traveled a great distance to be here today.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC They not only traveled a great distance, they traveled also at great cost, and we must have to acknowledge a great inconvenience as well. Air lines and air service into the Marshall Islands are running now between two and three months booked in advance. It is virtually impossible to fly into the islands.
We have been involved at the Department in a lengthy and protracted discussion about the conditions, whereby we would be able to enlarge the number of stopovers at Johnston Atoll to allow greater passenger flow from the islands to Hawaii and to onward destinations of the United States. I am here to report today, Mr. Chairman and other Members, that we, I think, have arrived at some responsible steps that the USI can take on the safety side to assure that we will be able to rapidly begin discussions with the Marshallese to increase the number of flights through and into Johnston Atoll.
I will just tell you that this has been awhile in coming. I want to commend publicly particularly the representative of the Marshallese government who have been relentless in their pursuit of their own national and legitimate interest in my view.
I hope to be able to begin discussions in the weeks ahead to be able to meet the increase in air service that inevitably comes in the May, June, and July time frame. We are a bit tardy in this, but it is better late than never, Mr. Chairman. With that I will conclude.
Mr. YOUNG. Thank you, Dr. Campbell.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Campbell follows:]
STATEMENT OF DR. KURT M. CAMPBELL, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR ASIAN AND PACIFIC AFFAIRS, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS
Thank you Mr. Chairman. I am honored to join this distinguished assembly of Marshall Island and United States Government officials to discuss the status of nuclear claims, relocation and resettlement efforts of the governments of the four nuclear-affected atolls in the Marshall Islands. My responsibilities as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs include the Freely Associated States, specifically the Republic of the Marshall Islands. While I have not visited the Marshall Islands, my staff has, and I have worked closely with the Republic of the Marshall Islands Embassy here in Washington.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Background on the Defense Relationship
The Department of Defense has a deep appreciation of the current significance and past history of our special relationship with the Freely Associated States; the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau. We cannot, and should not, forget the price we paid in liberating these islands from Imperial Japan in World War II and the role some of the islands and peoples played in developing crucial U.S. defense programs in the 1950s and 1960s. Our relationship is founded upon the unique role of U.S. defense responsibilities to the sovereign nations of the Freely Associated States under the terms of the Compact of Free Association.
The Compact and subsequent agreements obligate the United States to provide for the defense of the Freely Associated States in perpetuity, unless mutually agreed upon to terminate the arrangement. We are committed to provide security to these nations and their peoples ''as the United States and its citizens are defended.'' This level of defense commitment goes beyond any other U.S. treaty or alliance. In return for this fundamental security guarantee and other DOD obligations, we retain the right for certain military uses and access, as well as the right to veto access to third countries.
In the absence of the Compact or the Security and Defense Relations Title of the Compact, the Mutual Security Agreement still provides for defense obligations, military access, and denial of military access by third countries. Although it may appear that the termination of the Compact would result in little change, it is clearly in the best interests of the U.S. to maintain the full range of military access and security engagement options the Compact provides. One of the most important aspects of the Compact is the foundation it provides for our day-to-day working relationship with the people of the Freely Associated States.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In preparation for the upcoming Compact renewal negotiations, the Department of Defense has conducted a study to determine our defense interests in the Freely Associated States for the post-2001 era. This study, which will be finalized in mid-1999, has considered many issues of mutual concern, such as continued access, current and future threats, and roles the Freely Associated States may play in future scenarios.
The overriding defense interest in the negotiations will be continued use of the Kwajalein Missile Range and the facilities on Kwajalein Atoll. The requirements of our missile defense and space surveillance programs combined with the uniqueness of Kwajalein's location, infrastructure investment, and real world treaty restrictions, make this an issue of the highest priority.
Under the Military Use and Operating Rights Agreement, negotiated subsequent to the Compact, the United States retains the right to automatically extend the use of Kwajalein for an additional fifteen years to 2016. However, the Compact and use of Kwajalein are not that easily separated. While the agreements may be negotiated separately, proviso's of the Compact help provide the basis for the support of the Marshallese, who in turn provide not only much of the labor force, but also a positive local environment which is critical for continued success at Kwajalein.
If the goal of the Compact is to maintain a unique relationship with the Freely Associated States while helping them become financially self-sustaining democracies, then a renegotiated Compact, in some form, is in the best interests of the United States and the Freely Associated States. It will help the Freely Associated States continue to work toward their national goals, while serving our national defense interests.
Nuclear Claims, Relocation and Resettlement
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As part of the U.S. Government's acceptance of responsibility ''for compensation owing to citizens of the Marshall Islands . . . for loss or damage . . . resulting from the nuclear testing program . . . conducted . . . between June 30, 1946, and August 18, 1958,'' the Department of Defense participated in the clean up of Enewetak Atoll. Contaminated matter was deposited in Cactus Crater on Runit Island and the Army Corps of Engineers constructed a concrete dome over the crater for containment.
Pursuant to the terms of the Compact of Free Association, the Republic of the Marshall Islands bears full responsibility for maintaining and monitoring the dome and Runit Island. Any issues dealing with Runit dome are best addressed to the Department of Energy for technical expertise.
The Department of Defense has cooperated with the Republic of the Marshall Islands' quest for historical data dealing with nuclear testing and clean up efforts. Most recently, in the fall of 1997, the Embassy of the Republic of the Marshall Islands was authorized to communicate directly with the Defense Special Weapons Agency as a means to refine requests for both classified and unclassified information. To date, this working relationship has not been utilized.
The Department of Defense bears no obligations for matters dealing with relocation or resettlement.
Mr. YOUNG. Dr. Seligman.
STATEMENT OF PAUL J. SELIGMAN, M.D., M.P.H., DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH STUDIES, DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
Dr. SELIGMAN. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, Members of the Subcommittee, I am pleased to be here today to discuss the Department of Energy's Marshall Islands program. My complete statement is provided to the Committee for the record.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As you know, this program was created in response to congressional direction to help the citizens and the leadership of the Republic of the Marshall Islands address environmental and medical consequences of the U.S. Atmospheric Nuclear Weapons Testing Program.
Our program currently consists of two parts, which I will discuss in turn. The Environmental Monitoring Program is focussed on helping the peoples of the four northern atolls, Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap, and Utirik, understand how radiation has affected their environment; develop ways to mitigate contamination and monitor the effectiveness of these mitigation strategies especially in resettled communities.
In addition to the environmental program, we have a special medical care program that provides for the identification and treatment of radiogenic-related diseases in the peoples of Rongelap and Utirik atolls who are exposed from fallout from the Castle BRAVO test. The environmental monitoring program began in 1972, but since its inception has been conducted by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
The program is led by Dr. William Robison, who, I understand, is in the Marshall Islands today doing sampling and will not be part of the panel. This program has sponsored detailed environmental monitoring and agriculture research to characterize the current radiologic conditions on those four northern atolls.
To date the U.S. Government has expended a total of more than $45 million towards this goal. Scientists have collected and analyzed more than 48,000 vegetation samples, 8,000 marine organism samples, 45,000 soil samples, in addition to numerous other animal, water, and aerosol samples.
Through this work we now have an accurate characterization and understanding of the nature and extent of radiation contamination in the northern belt atolls. The scientific data support a number of scientific and public health conclusions and recommendations regarding resettlement and land use in the northern atolls.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The primary conclusions are as follows: first, the Utirik people can continue to live on their atoll without concern that their health will be affected by radiologic exposure from residual contamination from weapons testing.
Second, the Rongelap people can also choose to resettle without concern that their health will be affected by radiologic exposure from residual contamination if they do two things: one, conduct a limited scrape of surface soils in the village areas; and, two, apply potassium fertilizers to areas where food is growing. This mitigation technique is called the combined option and is the basis for the Rongelap resettlement program being implemented today.
Third, the Bikini people may also choose to resettle without concern that their health would be affected by residual nuclear radiologic contamination if they, like Rongelap, apply the combined option.
Finally, the Enewetak people who have been resettled on the Enewetak atoll since 1980 can continue to live on their atoll without concern that their health will be affected by radiologic exposure.
Bioassay and whole-body counting results have independently confirmed this conclusion for the Enewetak people. We believe our studies have provided timely, relevant, and credible environmental data and have undergone extensive and independent national and international scientific peer review.
This work, together with independent environmental reviews supported by trust funds to the Department of Interior provide a firm foundation from which the Republic of the Marshall Islands government and their people can make informed decisions about resettlement and land use.
The environmental sampling and agriculture studies will be complete over the next two years. My office stands ready to address the needs, concerns, and questions of the RMI and local atoll governments regarding radiologic monitoring as circumstances evolve.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Rongelap to support monitoring during current resettlement activities and stand ready to support similar activities on other atolls and islands as needed.
In conclusion, then, we think our environmental studies carried out over the years provide the solid information and firm foundation that the people of the government of the Marshall Islands need to make informed decisions about how to resettle and use their lands.
I am not going to talk now because my time is limited about our medical program, but suffice to say that we have also through our medical program provided a program that is responsive to the needs of the community by providing preventative, innovative health care for the mandated population, enhancing delivery capabilities, involving the communities in the design of that program, and ensuring our new medical program is coordinated with other health agencies to leverage assets and improve overall health care service.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for this opportunity to share the current status of our environmental program, and I would be pleased to answer any questions.
Mr. YOUNG. I thank the gentleman.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Seligman follows:]
STATEMENT OF DR. PAUL J. SELIGMAN, M.D., M.P.H., DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH STUDIES, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AND CAPTAIN, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, U.S. PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I am pleased to be here to discuss the Department of Energy (DOE) Marshall Islands program. As you know, this program was designed and created in response to Congressional direction to help the citizens of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) with the environmental and medical consequences of the United States atmospheric nuclear weapons testing program. I also appreciate this opportunity to broaden the dialogue between the U.S. and the RMI so that we can better address needs of the local communities, consistent with our budget and within the framework of our mandate.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The atmospheric nuclear weapons test code-named ''Castle BRAVO'' was conducted at the Bikini atoll in 1954. The test inadvertently deposited radioactive fallout on 253 residents of the Rongelap and Utrik atolls. Medical care was provided for these individuals in the days immediately following the test by U.S. Navy physicians. When these physicians moved to Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in 1956, the responsibility for caring for this group followed them. Medical care under the aegis of DOE and its predecessors continued through 1986 and the Congressional enactment of Public Law 99-239, Section 103(h) of the Compact of Free Association Act which mandated continuing this special medical program. Additionally, Public Laws 95-134 and 96-205 require environmental monitoring to characterize the radioactivity remaining at the four atolls of Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap, and Utrik. These monitoring programs began in 1972-73 at Enewetak atoll and continue through the present.
Under these laws, DOE continues to provide two distinct services to the Republic of the Marshall Islands: environmental monitoring and special medical care. The environmental monitoring program is focused on helping the peoples of the Bikini, Eniwetok, Rongelap, and Utrik atolls understand the effect of radiation on their environment, develop methods to mitigate contamination, and monitor the effectiveness of mitigation strategies especially in resettled communities. The special medical care program provides for the identification and treatment of radiogenic-related diseases that have occurred in the peoples of Rongelap and Utrik atolls that were exposed to fallout from the Castle BRAVO weapons test.
DOE Marshall Islands Environmental Monitoring Program
For 27 years, the environmental monitoring program has been conducted for the DOE by its Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The program has sponsored detailed environmental monitoring and agricultural research studies to characterize current radiological conditions at the Bikini, Eniwetok, Rongelap, and Utrik atolls. Since the inception of the program in 1972, the U.S. government has expended more than $45,000,000 toward this goal.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The program is led by Dr. William Robison, Scientific Director of the Marshall Islands Dose Assessment and Radioecology Program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. I will defer to him today to describe the detailed scientific conclusions of his studies in the environmental area. But I would like to summarize the Department's views of his work.
Dr. Robison and his colleagues from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have assembled an unprecedented team of international scientific experts from around the globe to carry out this program. Since this work began, its expressed purpose has been to answer the difficult questions about radiation contamination in the Marshall Islands. This work has become the standard by which dose assessment and radioecology programs are measured today.
The environmental monitoring process conducted by LLNL consists of extensive field sample collection and laboratory analysis. To date, some 48,147 vegetation samples, 8,741 marine organism samples, 25,632 soil/sediment samples, 586 terrestrial animal samples, 1,373 water samples, and 61 aerosol samples have been collected and analyzed by LLNL. Also, agricultural research studies centered on Bikini Island have provided important insight into possible mitigation strategies that will help reduce the uptake of radionuclides in locally grown food products.
Key Scientific Findings
Through the work of Dr. Robison and his team, we now have an accurate characterization and understanding of the nature and extent of radiation contamination in the northern belt atolls of Bikini, Eniwetok, Rongelap, and Utrik. Dr. Robison's work, while not yet complete in several key areas, has produced scientific data that support a number of conclusions and recommendations. I emphasize to the Committee that these recommendations are based solely on the scientific data, and do not consider other factors that will ultimately affect decisions of the Marshallese peoples.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The Utrik people can choose to live on their atoll without concern that their health will be affected by radiological exposure. A final environmental report for Utrik is scheduled for publication in July 1999.
The Rongelap people could choose to resettle without concern that their health will be affected by radiological exposure if they (1) conducted a limited scrape of surface soils in the village areas and (2) apply potassium fertilizer to areas where food is growing. This mitigation technique, referred to as the combined option, is the basis for the resettlement program being implemented at Rongelap today. We have recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Rongelap leadership to provide radiological monitoring of the ongoing resettlement activities.
The Bikini people could choose to resettle without concern that their health will be affected by radiological exposure if they, like the Rongelap, (1) scrape the village areas and (2) apply potassium fertilizer to food growing areas.
The Enewetak people have been resettled on Enewetak atoll since 1980. Bioassay and whole body counting results have confirmed that radiation doses on Eniwetok Island, where resettlement has occurred, are at or near world background levels and present no health consequences to the population. If the Enewetak people decide to resettle Enjebi Island, DOE recommends using the combined option as at Rongelap and Bikini atolls for mitigation.
Credibility of the Science
Since the beginning of the LLNL program, the scientific resultant studies have undergone extensive independent scientific peer review.
In the mid-1980s, Public Law 97-257 (House Report 90-450) directed that the Office of Territorial and International Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior establish the Bikini Atoll Rehabilitation Committee (BARC). The BARC was to work with the Bikini people to determine the feasibility and estimated cost of cleanup of Bikini Atoll. An interim report was issued on November 23, 1983 which was followed by their March 31, 1986 report. Copies of both reports will be provided for the record.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC From 1992-1994, DOE funded a study by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Science to evaluate the appropriateness of analytical techniques, ingestion and inhalation models, and proposed remedial actions to support resettlement of the Rongelap atoll. A copy of their report, entitled Radiological Assessments for Resettlement of Rongelap in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, is provided for the record.
In 1994, the Rongelap local government asked a distinguished international panel of experts (known as the Scientific Management Team) to determine compliance with agreed limits for total annual dose-rate on Rongelap Island and actinide contamination of soils on Rongelap islands and neighboring islands. Their report, entitled Summary of First Phase, is provided for the record.
In response to U.S. Congressional hearings in 1989 and 1990, a committee of renowned scientists, chaired by Henry I. Kohn, Ph.D., was convened to provide insight and recommendations on potential resettlement of Rongelap atoll. Data from LLNL's environmental monitoring program was reviewed and became the basis for the committee's findings. A copy of their report, entitled Rongelap Reassessment Project Report, is provided for the record.
In 1995, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) established an IAEA Advisory Group to provide independent review of Bikini atoll environmental data generated by LLNL. The Advisory Group, convened at the request of Bikini Senator Henchi Balos, examined proposed actions to enable Bikini resettlement. A copy of their report, entitled Radiological Conditions at Bikini Atoll: Prospects for Resettlement, is provided for the record.
Since 1995, Dr. Hertwig Paretzke, Director of the Institute for Radiation Protection, Neuherberg, Germany, has consulted with the Bikini people and Dr. Robison to help the people of Bikini better understand the facts about residual radioactivity in the environment and in the foods at Bikini. They have explored numerous options that might best serve resettlement of Bikini.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I believe that Lawrence Livermore's work has provided timely, relevant, and credible environmental data. Environmental data from Lawrence Livermore's work, together with the independent environmental reviews made possible by trust funds provided through the Department of the Interior, provides a firm foundation from which the Republic of the Marshall Islands government and their people can make informed decisions about resettlement and land use.
As DOE completes the bulk of the environmental sampling and agricultural studies over the next two years, we will continue to consult with the RMI and the local atoll governments. We will continue our record of being responsive to their questions, concerns, and needs, and hope to continue our part in answering scientific questions about radiological contamination in the Marshall Islands environment.
The DOE Marshall Islands Special Medical Care Program
In addition to the environmental monitoring program, the Department funds a special medical care program in response to Congressional direction. This program provides treatment for radiogenic-related diseases for the group of people in the Rongelap and Utrik atolls who were exposed to fallout from the Castle BRAVO weapons test. Public Law 99-239 defines the program as follows:
. . . the President (either through an appropriate department or agency of the United States or by contract with a United States firm) shall continue to provide special medical care and logistical support thereto to the remaining 174 members of the population of Rongelap and Utrik who were exposed to radiation resulting from the 1954 United States thermonuclear 'BRAVO' test, pursuant to Public Laws 95-134 and 96-205. Such medical care and its accompanying logistical support shall total $22,5000,000 over the first 11 years of the Compact.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The program's primary objective is to provide
Of the 253 individuals originally exposed to fallout from Castle BRAVO, 130 individuals remain. In addition, 109 individuals who were residents of the affected atolls but were not directly exposed to the BRAVO fallout (being elsewhere at the time of the test) are included in the program. Today, 239 people are covered by DOE's special medical care program.
Key Program Strategies
Until June 1998 and for the previous 44 years, medical care has been provided to the Rongelap and Utrik beneficiaries of the program by a team of U.S. doctors led by Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). The BNL team visited the Marshall Islands semiannually for medical missions lasting four to six weeks. While beneficial, it provided only intermittent medical care to the mandated patients and had limited prospects of making sustained contributions to either their health or public health in general.
Beginning in 1996, DOE, the RMI government, and the local governments of the Rongelap and Utrik atolls began a process to design a new medical care program that would be more responsive to the needs of the beneficiaries. Representatives from each group were involved at each critical juncture of the process, including the design of the new program, development of the Request for Applications, and review of the applications.
This effort led to a new program, implemented in August 1998, that is run by the Pacific Health Research Institute (PHRI) in Honolulu. This multi-faceted program has a number of first year strategies and goals that include:
Providing preventative and innovative healthcare for the mandated population to improve their health status,
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Enhanced continuity in the delivery of healthcare;
Establishment of a community advisory process for the program;
Delivery of healthcare in a culturally appropriate manner;
Coordination with other health agencies in the RMI to leverage assets and improve overall service
PHRI clinics are located on Kwajalein Island and in Majuro. Local Marshallese physicians and nurse supervisory personnel can see patients daily. Complementing the Marshallese physicians and nurses are a number of U.S. trained physicians working with Straub Clinic and Hospital, Kaiser-Permanente, Wahiawa General Hospital, and the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine. These individuals rotate through the clinics once a month for a two-week period, and assist the Marshallese physicians in providing both primary and specialty care to the mandated population. PHRI also uses senior family practice residents on monthly rotations from the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine's Department of Family Practice and Community Health for additional support and assistance.
Even though the new DOE/PHRI medical care program is still taking root, we feel that it strengthens our ability to carry out the Congressional mandate and holds great promise to build a Marshallese health care program with potential for long-term self reliance.
DOE has committed itself to be responsive to the questions, concerns, and needs of the Marshall Islands people. DOE has worked toward this goal by actively listening to the central and local governments and their communities, effectively giving them a voice in determining the future direction of the Marshall Islands program. DOE routinely publishes the results of its scientific environmental work in the public domain. DOE is also well underway in honoring its pledge to disclose all DOE controlled information and documents related to the nuclear weapons testing in the South Pacific previously unavailable to the public. Examples of DOE's actions in these regards follow:
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
DOE maintains a full time presence in Honolulu whose express purpose is to provide day-to-day operations interface with the RMI and local atoll government representatives in the U.S. Embassy in Majuro, M.I.
Since 1990, DOE has engaged the local leadership and community members from Bikini, Eniwetok, Rongelap and Utrik in over 30 community meetings to discuss the results of scientific reports as they were completed. During one such meeting, community representatives expressed their confusion and displeasure over DOE's historical use of the term ''exposed'' when referring to persons other than the mandated population served by the special medical care program. In consultation with the concerned parties, DOE responded in November 1998 with a letter clarifying its use of the term ''exposed'' as it appears on section 103 (h) of the Compact of Free Association.
Since 1993, DOE has hosted an annual meeting between the Department, the RMI central government, and government representatives from Bikini, Eniwetok, Rongelap and Utrik to discuss program strengths and weaknesses and needed corrective actions. For example, at the 1994 annual meeting, the Eniwetok local government requested assistance conducting a radiological survey of Runit dome. DOE conducted the requested survey and presented the results to the Eniwetok representatives. These results were subsequently published in the July 1997 special Marshall Islands edition of the Health Physics Journal.
In October 1998, DOE and representatives from the RMI Government and the Bikini, Eniwetok, Rongelap and Utrik atolls, agreed on an action plan to assist the four communities in their current or future resettlement plans. Coming from that meeting was the framework for the Rongelap/RMI/DOE Environmental Monitoring Memorandum of Understanding, now agreed to and being implemented by the parties to assist in Rongelap resettlement activities.
To date, LLNL has published 37 scientifically peer-reviewed reports providing scientific information and conclusions on the radiological environment at the Bikini, Eniwetok, Rongelap and Utrik atolls. Each report was provided to the RMI Government and to each of the affected atoll communities. Copies are available for the record.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In 1997, DOE sponsored a special edition of the Health Physics Journal, entitled Consequences of Nuclear Testing in the Marshall Islands. This publication, a compendium of peer-reviewed articles by scientists from around the world who have worked in the Marshall Islands, is the first comprehensive collection of environmental and medical-related information related to the Marshall Islands saga.
In 1996, DOE implemented an aggressive program to make available, through the Department's website, more than 1,000,000 document pages concerning nuclear weapons testing in the South Pacific. This electronic medium permits direct access by the RMI and the public to this important information.
In 1997, DOE provided a two-year, $45,000 grant to the RMI Embassy in Washington to enable Marshallese personnel to access data electronically on the internet and to access and use the DOE/Department of Defense Center for Coordination and Information in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Over the past five years, DOE has provided in hard copy to both the RMI Embassy in Washington, D.C. and through the American Embassy in Majuro to the RMI Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 77 boxes of documents relating to the nuclear testing era.
DOE believes that LLNL's work is providing timely, relevant, and credible environmental data. This information, together with the independent environmental reviews made possible by resettlement trust funds provided through the Department of the Interior and the Nationwide Radiologic Survey conducted independently by the Marshall Islands Nuclear Claims Tribunal, provides a firm foundation from which the Republic of the Marshall Islands government and their people can make informed decisions about resettlement and land use. As DOE completes the bulk of the environmental sampling and agricultural studies over the next two years, we will continue to consult with the RMI and the local atoll governments. We will continue to be responsive to their questions, concerns, and needs, and to maintain a presence in the Marshall Islands as long as we can contribute to addressing scientific questions about radiological contamination in the Marshall Islands environment.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Similarly, DOE's new special medical care program begun last year is breathing renewed life into the healthcare system by providing preventative and innovative healthcare for the mandated population, enhancing healthcare delivery capability, involving the communities, and coordinating with other health agencies to leverage assets and improve overall healthcare service. Even though the new DOE/PHRI medical care program is still taking root, it has already shown that it holds great promise to build a Marshallese health care program with potential for long-term self reliance.
DOE's Office of Environment, Safety and Health has administered the Marshall Islands Medical Program since 1990. Our office is unique within the Department because its staff includes experts in radiation safety and public health. We have worked hard to carry out a successful and responsive Marshall slands environmental and medical care program while balancing our concerns for program efficiency and effectiveness.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for this opportunity to share the current status and progress of our environmental and medical care programs in the Marshall Islands. I would be pleased to answer any questions.
Mr. YOUNG. I want to thank the panel. Mr. Boyce, you stated, or indicated, the State Department will establish an office for the special negotiator. When will that begin, and how long do you expect that to be in existence, and where it will be housed?
Mr. BOYCE. We will have it up and open on June 7, Mr. Chairman. As I mentioned, my colleague, Al Stayman, will be the special negotiator to be heading up that shop. We expect that we will have ten professional staff drawn from the interagency working group, and the offices will be physically in the Department of State.
And as far as how long we expect the office to be up, that really is going to depend on how the renegotiation goes; but with Al at the helm, I anticipate that should be a speedy and efficient process.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. YOUNG. Talking about negotiations, isn't that going to put an imposition upon the Marshallese as far as distances, or are they going to have tohow is that going to be handled?
The gentleman from the Defense Department talked about the new air traffic. Is that going to take care of that problem? We are trying to negotiate from a position period of the State Department. I guess, in the first place, I can't quite figure out what we are negotiating yet and what position the administration will have in this whole program.
It is going to be an awful big imposition, I think, for the people and the government of the Marshall Islands to be flying back and forth to Washington, DC. Or will there be a head-hunter doing the work for them?
Mr. STAYMAN. Mr. Chairman, as a matter of fact, we also had some informal discussions. We weren't really anticipating a lot of meetings in DC or in the Marshall Islands. Perhaps we couldHawaii or the West Coast where it would be mutually convenient and inconvenient and share that burden.
Mr. YOUNG. Okay. Doctor, on the health end of it, other than the nuclear, are you studying other aspects of the health challenges and the results of some of our relocation and diets that have occurred in the Marshall Islands?
Dr. SELIGMAN. No, we have not.
Mr. YOUNG. Are there other agencies within our government helping the Marshallese in this endeavor?
Dr. SELIGMAN. Mr. Stayman, do you know the answer to that question?
Mr. STAYMAN. Not to my knowledge.
Mr. YOUNG. Does anybody else want to address that issue? There are some health problems that have occurred especially, I believe, on Enewetak and other areas because of the change in diets. Is that a correct statement?
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. STAYMAN. Yes. I could make a brief comment. One of the things that we are seeing in the expansion of the radiological health care programs, we believe, is a reaction to the generally poor health care available to the general public; that there is certainly political pressure and pressure personally to get enrolled in these medical programs. In fact, there are general public health problems mainly associated with diet.
Mr. YOUNG. I have been out there twice now. I think the thing that sort of bothers me the most is the relocation and the imposition upon these people was the result of our testing 64 times nuclear capability.
Now, a change in the wind was something that was unforeseen. Like bombing the Chinese embassy, we used old maps. I had to bring that up. But I want the administration and the State Department and everybody involved, because this is a crucial area, to understand that the problems this small group of people are faced with were basically created by ourselves.
The relocation itselfand now we are talking about they can go back and live on the island safely, et cetera, et cetera. But unless we help provide things that they have become used to, they are not going to relocate. That is something that is a natural thing.
Electricity is crucially important. The ability to have TV is crucially important. Things that people become used to are just not going to pick up and go back as we think they ought to go back to the way they were prior to the testing. I think that is part of our responsibility.
We started this mess under the guise of defending ourselves, and I think that we have the responsibility to do everything possible to make sure that we encourage, through additional attractive medical care, electricity capabilities and those type things. Otherwise you are going to have the same problem they are faced with right now.
Mr. Boyce? I see you nodding your head.
Mr. BOYCE. I concur. In fact, I think that you asked earlier that you were not quite sure what we were going to be negotiating or renegotiating. I think the original intent of the compact was not just to provide for the defense of the islands and keep the status quo going on forever.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It was also to provide a substantial transfer of resources to provide for the economic development and hopefully the self-sufficiency of the islands. As we go into the renegotiation, obviously we are going to be taking a good close look at the $3 billion that has been spent over the 12 years so far, how much of that was spent intelligently and how much needs to be redirected.
Some of the comments you made about providing the kind of infrastructure and facilities that will be conducive to going back will be considerations in all of this as well. I very much take your point.
Mr. YOUNG. My time is up. Mr. Miller.
Dr. SELIGMAN. I just wanted to make a comment, Mr. Chairman. I agree with you, Mr. Chairman. I believe strongly that the public health and medical problems and needs of the Marshall Islands go well beyond those that my office has focussed on in a fairly limited fashion which are those related to radiologic exposure.
I think you are right on the mark. There are bigger public health and medical needs and problems that should be and need to be focussed on in the Marshall Islands that we have not, to date, focussed on.
Mr. YOUNG. Thank you, Doctor. Mr. Miller.
Mr. MILLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I might just follow up on that point. I was going to start the other waylet me follow up on that point. Dr. Seligman, you state really without qualification on page 2 of your statement that resettlement or choosing to live on these various atolls can be accomplished without concern for their health.
I don't want to put words in your mouth, but that is essentially what you are saying there. You go on to say that you areI don't want to use the word comfortable, but with the peer review that these studiesthe conclusion of these studies have drawn and the peer review of those studies. Is that accurate?
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. SELIGMAN. That is correct. Without concern that their health will be adversely impacted by radiologic exposure.
Mr. MILLER. From time to time I believe it's been raised with us, I know; but I don't know if it has been raised with you. There was some concern, I think people had a lot of confidence in Dr. Robison and the people of Lawrence Lab.
In the collection of data, there was some question of whether or not the people of the Marshall Islands and leaders and others were comfortable with the analysis of that. But that has all beenthey may raise that point when they come up. Do you know if that is a controversy still? Is that still an area of concern?
Dr. SELIGMAN. The environmental data have been peer-reviewed by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the National Academy of Sciences and others. To my way of looking at it, I think the data are credible, that there is
Mr. MILLER. Let me ask you this. That is what your statement says. But whatever controversy there has been over the analysis of that data, has that been put to rest or does that continue, from what you know?
Dr. SELIGMAN. To be honest, I am not sure what the controversy is regarding the analysis of the data.
Mr. MILLER. Let me ask youand maybe the other panel can raise the issuebut let me ask you in the context. As far as your testimony is concerned, all of the analysis has been subjected, on which you base these conclusions, has been subjected to what you consider high-quality critical peer review. Is that accurate?
Dr. SELIGMAN. That is correct.
Mr. MILLER. I think the other panelists may raise some questions about that. One last point. There was some suggestion that they wanted yet another independent analysis of this data. Where would you go that would be different than where it has been subjected to peer review? How would that be accomplished if that was to come about?
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. SELIGMAN. I think there are numerous experts nationally and internationally that the Marshallese could turn to to get advice. I think you will have people on subsequent panels that they have already turned to to get such advice. I think that is
Mr. MILLER. Okay. All right. Now, having gone through a base closure, you are now sensitive to the idea of what is clean. The people paying for it think one threshold and the people getting it are thinking of another threshold generating these base closures.
Are we using the same standards in terms of cleanup of this facility as we are for nuclear weapons development sites? Is this a different standard out there, or is this the same standard that we would use in the United States?
Dr. SELIGMAN. There are, as I am sure that you are aware, multiple standards out there. There is an EPA standard; there is an NRC standard; there is a standard that we have used previously, the IAEA. Our role, essentially, is to conduct the environmental sampling and monitoring, to provide those data to the Marshallese, and to let them make a determination as to what standard they would like to use in making decisions
Mr. MILLER. Is that being done in compliance with the EPA standard or the DOE's?
Dr. SELIGMAN. The Department of Energy doesn't have a standard. There are other agencies that have standards.
Mr. MILLER. We are learning about a lot of the activities, but we will let that go, too.
Dr. SELIGMAN. Sure. Are you implying that the Department of Energy should have
Mr. MILLER. I want to know when we talk, when we collect the data and we do the analysis, are we comparing or subjecting the environment of the Marshallese to the same standard that we would expect our constituents in the continental United States to be subjected to?
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. SELIGMAN. Again, my office doesn't subject the data to a particular standard. We simply describe
Mr. MILLER. Would one of the other panelists tell us? If we decided the people in my congressional district have to live within EPA standard or DOE standards, have we made that same determination about the people in the Marshall Islands?
Mr. YOUNG. Nobody is saying.
Dr. SELIGMAN. I think the Marshallese are fair to use whatever standard they wish.
Mr. MILLER. No. It is not about what standards they use. It is about when you draw the conclusion, and you are taking Rongelap and Bikini and Enewetak and elsewhere; and you draw these conclusionsI'm asking you based upon what standard was used as to what is clean and what is healthy environmentis it the same standard that would be used for my constituents or is it a different standard? It is not what the Marshallese chose. You are giving them advice based upon Dr. Robison's work; is that not correct?
Dr. SELIGMAN. Based upon what we know of the health impacts of radiologic contamination, that is correct.
Mr. MILLER. So now I am only asking is what you know based upon thisis this based upon standards that we as Members of Congress would expect if we were under an EPA cleanup or DOE cleanup? Are they the same?
Dr. SELIGMAN. Or an NIC cleanup? IAEA? I'm not exactly sure which standard you are applying.
Mr. MILLER. You know exactly what I'm saying. I am asking you whether or not those standards are the same when they are used in the cleanup in congressional districts in the States. If we use the standards of IAEA or if we use the standards of DOE or if we use the standards of the NRC, are those the same standards that are being used there? Is it simple now?
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. SELIGMAN. The same standards upon which I used to evaluate our data, yes.
Mr. MILLER. They are the same. That is what I have been asking you for 5 minutes. Are they parallel standards and are they the same? The suggestion has been that, in fact, they are not. The higher dosages have been accepted, the higher millirems of residual have been accepted than the standards that we would use in a similar situation in the United States. That is not accurate?
Dr. SELIGMAN. Of course not.
Mr. MILLER. Okay. Thank you.
Mr. YOUNG. The gentleman from California, Mr. Doolittle. You don't have to ask any questions if you don't want to.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. I will pass.
Mr. YOUNG. The gentleman from American Samoa.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I ask for unanimous consent that my statement be made part of the record.
Mr. YOUNG. Without objection so ordered. That is automatic for everybody, so your statements are made
STATEMENT OF HON. ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM AMERICAN SAMOA
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Chairman, I also want to commend you for taking a bipartisan congressional delegation recently to visit the Republic of the Marshall Islands. I think it was a very important lesson for the Members of this Committee to see firsthand what we have been trying to deliberate upon and, hopefully, to provide some kind of resolution for this very serious problem affecting the health needs of the people of the Marshall Islands.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I want to thank Mr. Boyce for his statement, certainly members of the panel, and wish to convey my best regards to Assistant Secretary Stanley Roth and Secretary Boyce for moving ahead with the negotiations of the Marshall Islands and I'm very pleased that our good friend, Mr. Stayman, has now taken the helm of this important matter to discuss and to negotiate with the Marshall Islands and the compact.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Faleomavaega follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, A DELEGATE IN CONGRESS FROM THE TERRITORY OF AMERICAN SAMOA
Thank you very much for calling this hearing to review the longterm effects of America's nuclear testing legacy on our close friends and longtime allies, the good people of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Our great Nations owes an immense debt to the Marshallese people for their tremendous sacrifices that directly contributed to, and continues to contribute to, America's nuclear deterrent and ballistic missile defense.
Today, Mr. Chairman, under your guidance, we examine the status of the nuclear claims by our Marshallese friends, and the uprooting, relocation and resettlement of their families and villages between the atolls and islands of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
In support of these crucial efforts, Mr. Chairman, I thank you deeply for recently leading a Congressional Delegation to see first-hand the unresolved problems caused by America's nuclear weapons testing program conducted over many years in the Marshall Islands.
For those of us who have been working on this issue for quite some time, we know the seriousness and extent of the problems, but there just has never been enough attention brought to the problem to get it adequately addressed.
Mr. Chairman, the actions of the United States Government have caused the people of the Republic of the Marshall Islands immense harm which continues to this day. With tens of atmospheric tests of atomic and thermo-nuclear weapons, we have made uninhabitable due to nuclear radiation much of these people's homelands. We have disrupted their lives by removing them from their homelands and in some cases they have yet to return out of fear for their physical safety should they return.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With the recent declassification by the Department of Energy of previously classified documents, we now know that the U.S. Government hasn't always been candid and forthright with the people of the Marshall Islands. Because of what some would consider callous disregard, and perhaps duplicity, for the well-being of the residents of the Marshall Islands, they no longer trust our government to do the right thing by them. After a preliminary review of the facts, I can understand why our Marshallese friends feel this way.
Throughout this time, the United States Congress has provided the Marshalles people their only hope for a just settlement, and they are again looking to the Congress to provide proper oversight of the efforts within the Departments of the Interior, Energy and State to make their homelands safe, allowing them to return to their native lands.
Mr. Chairman, this whole process has taken much too long and in this time of expected U.S. budget surpluses from which the House of Representatives has ad hoc allocated $12.9 billion dollars for Kosovo and defense concernswe really have no excuse for not addressing these serious problems which we have caused with the good people of the Marshall Islands.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I want to ask Dr. Seligman as a follow-up of what the gentleman from California was trying to raise here. Dr. Seligman, am I pronouncing your name correctly? I have the same problem with my name.
Dr. SELIGMAN. Seligman. Thank you.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. If I were exposedif I know for a fact that I was exposed seriously to nuclear contamination, let us say even to this day, and I want the best doctors and the best hospital in the world to take care of me, where would I go? For a full examination, high tech, the best experts that I could find in the world to make sure that they know what the hell they are talking about as far as my health is concerned if I have been exposed to nuclear contamination.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. SELIGMAN. I don't think in my mind there is one place that I would necessarily have you go to. I think there are many centers and many experts within the United States that would satisfy that.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I am leading up to that question, Dr. Seligman. You mentioned that Dr. Robison is currently conducting a comprehensive environmental and agricultural sampling, soils and all of that. His report will not be availablewithin two years maybe it will be completed?
Dr. SELIGMAN. Our work at Bikini will be completed in two years.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. My question, Dr. Seligman, is we are doing so much about the substance of the soils, the environment of the islands, but what are we doing with the people? Are you aware of the fact, sir, that the people in Utirik are the most contaminated people that were exposed to a nuclear testing as a result of the series of the Castle detonations that we did in the 1950s?
Dr. SELIGMAN. I don't believe that to be correct, sir.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Then correct me.
Dr. SELIGMAN. I don't think they were the most heavily exposed. I think the people who were closer in Rongelap were more heavily exposed than those in Utirik.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. How far is Utirik from Rongelap?
Dr. SELIGMAN. I would have to rely on some other experts, but I believe it is two to three hundred miles.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. How far is Utirik from the nuclear testing of the BRAVO test that was conducted in 1954?
Dr. SELIGMAN. Again, I believe it is a similar distance.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Were you aware of the fact that after the nuclear testing the people of Utirik were taken back again to their islands to live there as a difference to the fact that the people of Rongelap were taken off of their islands when this BRAVO test had taken place?
Dr. SELIGMAN. I am not particularly familiar with that information, no.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I would like to ask, Dr. Seligman, what is the Department of Energy doing in finding some way to comprehensively examine the health needs of these, people especially those that have been exposed to the testing since the 1950s?
Dr. SELIGMAN. We do have a Marshall Islands medical program that has been in existence since 1954 that does provide medical care and examinations for those who were exposed to Rongelap and Utirik. That program is still ongoing.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Sir, that doesn't help me, Dr. Seligman. I am very, very concerned that we have been doing a lot of flip-flops about providing the best medical health care needs for these people.
That is the reason why I asked in my previous question, my first question, if I were to take 600 people exposed to nuclear testing, as a result of our nuclear testing program, where can I go to take these people to be fully examined to see if they don't have thyroid cancer, leukemia, and all of these other after effects that has happened to these people since we bombed these islands in the 19950s? Where would I go today to get more conclusive evidence as to their status? Don't you think that maybe the Japanese might have better medical care for people who have been exposed to nuclear testings?
Dr. SELIGMAN. You are asking me about the Japanese medical care system? I am not in a position to reply to that.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Chairman, my time is up. I am sorry I will have to pass for the next round.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. YOUNG. All right. Mr. Udall. I take that back. Mr. Gibbons.
Mr. GIBBONS. No questions.
Mr. YOUNG. Mr. Udall. Either one.
Mr. TOM UDALL. I would like to yield to the gentleman.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you very much. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Dr. Seligman, we are just trying to be helpful. If I could ask all of the members of the panel, would you agree as a consensus that now due to recently exposed evidence of facts and materials that have been declassified from the Department of Energy that there were more people in the Marshalls that were exposed to nuclear contamination than were thought of maybe since the 1950s?
Would you agree that due to the evidence that has now been declassified that more people in the Marshalls have been exposed to nuclear contamination than were thought of as there was before in the 1950s?
Mr. STAYMAN. What the new information allows us to do is to quantify better the level of contamination. It is fair to say that we have a better idea statistically of what the exact amounts of radiation were. I believe that is a fair statement.
Dr. SELIGMAN. I don't think there is any question in terms of the number of people that were exposed. Not only were the people of the Marshallese exposed, but the fallout from the atmospheric testing went worldwide. I would agree with Mr. Stayman. It has nothing to do with the numbers of individuals, but actually the quantity of exposure.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. It has nothing to do with the number of individuals as it is to the quantity of exposure?
Dr. SELIGMAN. Right. The number of individuals who were exposed back then is the same then that we are aware now.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. There were 150 people in Utirik atoll that were brought back to their island after the BRAVO test. Utirik atoll is approximately the same distance, 100 miles, as was Rongelap.
For the benefit of my colleagues, the BRAVO test was the first thermonuclear hydrogen bomb that our country exploded in the Marshalls for which hours before our officials knew that the winds had shifted.
And before doing so, we went ahead and exploded this hydrogen bomb which is 15 megatons, 1,000 times more powerful than the nuclear bombs we dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, just to give the benefit of my friends here the extent of how serious this problem was.
And it wasn't just a BRAVO test. It was also the Yankee test, others, well over 10,000 megatons. So my question here is 150 people were brought back to their atoll; they have lived there. Now, there are about 500 or 600 of them. My question is what is our government doing to provide the best medical attention to these people?
I'm simply asking, Dr. Seligman, do we have a process that if I were exposed to nuclear contamination can I go to Tripler? Can I go to Stanford? Where do I go to get me the best medical knowledge of what is happening to me due to nuclear contamination?
Mr. STAYMAN. Let me just interrupt a second because I think there is a misunderstanding which we need to clarify. Rongelap and Utrik are down wind of Bikini, where BRAVO occurred. Utrik is about twice as far. I just want to make sure there is an understanding there.
Dr. SELIGMAN. I would be happy to get that information for you as to where you could go to get the best possible care. I am proud of the program that we have provided for the Marshallese in terms of medical monitoring for those that were included in that group of citizens from Rongelap and Utirik who were exposed most heavily to fallout from Castle BRAVO. We changed medical contractors in 1998. We have a new program in place.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Dr. Seligman, if I may, my timeI am sorry, but we had a hearing in 1994. There were disagreements even among the scientists who were contracted to go there and conduct these soil samples as it was in terms of the exposure that these people were subjected to. You are telling me that you are satisfied with the way that we have been doing these examinations?
Dr. SELIGMAN. The soil samples, yes. I am satisfied.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. What about the examinations of the people?
Dr. SELIGMAN. For our program, yes, I have been satisfied.
Mr. STAYMAN. If I could also jump in here, again, Mr. Congressman. There may be a bit of confusion about who the eligible people are for which program. Dr. Seligman is talking about the DOE program, which treats those who were directly exposed, not people who moved back.
As you point out under the terms of the Compact, there was a program specifically extended, known as the so-called Four-Atoll Program. The Compact provides $2 million a year for that program.
Just as a point of clarification. I think that everyone would agreeand you raise very good pointit is not considered to be a very high-quality program, in part, because of the inflation of the enrollment. But clearly it is woefully underfunded to meet the need that you pointed out. That is certainly one of the things that we are going to have to look at very closely in the renegotiation.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Stayman, would you look at the Department of Energy also as a resource that could be helpful to resolve this problem, other than just doing soil samplings and testings of the environment?
Mr. STAYMAN. Yes.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I would appreciate if the DOE could also be helpful in finding out the status of the health conditions of these people who were exposed to the contamination.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. YOUNG. I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Guam.
STATEMENT OF HON. ROBERT A UNDERWOOD, A DELEGATE IN CONGRESS FROM GUAM
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I too want to thank you for holding this hearing. I guess we are at some level of discomfort, at least I am, in terms of the responses by the Department of Energy on this very serious issue.
One is I want to characterize and hopefully people understand that it seems to me that the Department of Energy is concerned about the level of responsibility and the programmatic responsibility and liability; and the people of the Marshalls, of course, are being asked to accept at face value some of the statements that are being made and not necessarily concerned about the programmatic liability, but are actually concerned about their lives.
When you make that kind of a comparison, it lends to a great deal of discomfort and uneasiness and anxiety. What we have here is I would consider a real crisis in terms of how much confidence there is in some of the statements that are coming out of the Department of Energy.
It seems to me the way to resolve that is to in some instances to call for more independent assessment or to have some independent assessment going into it. Now, I have talked to a lot of people, in particular the people that Mr. Faleomavaega were referring to in terms of some of the people of Utirik, some who were not directly exposed to it at the time of the blast but have been living there ever since.
It seems to me that they havethat they should come under the same kind of program as those that were directly exposed to the blast, inasmuch as the people who were not evacuated to the same extent that the others were.
I think what Mr. Miller was trying to get at was the issue of the standards is that at that time in the 50s in Utirik we are talking about 24,000 millirems of exposure to radioactivity. In the 1990s we are still talking about 18. I think the EPA standard is 15 millirems.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are tryingI am trying to understand what exactly is the standard you are using, and is there any objection from the Department of Energy to independent risk assessment for the people of these four affected atolls in terms of their health?
[The information follows:]
Dr. SELIGMAN. We would encourage that assessment.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. And you will be willing to participate in that independent risk
Dr. SELIGMAN. I don't know how we would participate in an independent one, other than opening up our files and making sure that all of the data that we have are available for anyone to look at at any time.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. I get a different story sometimes from representatives of the Marshalls. I get the feeling that there has not been full disclosure by the Department regarding radiation exposure.
Dr. SELIGMAN. We have provided 77 boxes, millions of pages of materials to the Marshallese. If there are still materials that have not been made available or still classified, we would like to know about them and we will work to see that they are declassified.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. So this is a full commitment of the Department of Energy to open up their files for this purpose?
Dr. SELIGMAN. Absolutely.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. On the issue, Dr. Campbell, I know that this is not directly pertinent to the work here, but you mentioned the role of Kwajalein in the renegotiations of the compact. And by the way, I want to congratulate Mr. Stayman for having that position. I expect that the negotiations, even though I have the fullest confidence in Mr. Stayman, I think they will go the full term of the expectation.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Could you characterize for the Committee how important Kwajalein is?
Dr. CAMPBELL. Congressman, you and I have discussed this on several occasions in the past, and I just want to underscore again, 2 years ago we did a full assessment of the full uses of Kwajalein in all aspects of our space program, our satellite program. And now, most importantly, as we go into intensive R&D on both TMD systems and potentially in the future on BMD systems, I have got to say that we view these facilities as absolutely critical.
And in our ongoing activities on the island, I must say that we have had to, on short notice, request additional space, additional area for activities commensurate or associated with this testing and other procedures, and we have had extremely responsive comeback from Kwajalein on all aspects of our testing and our programs.
So I would stand by our earlier statements and perhaps even add to them as an indication about how important we think this is, not only for the current programs but for the future as well. Our department stands fully by our desire for maintaining the fullest possible defense relationship.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. You would character this as a matter of vital national defense, that we continue to have access?
Dr. CAMPBELL. That is why I am here today. I know this is on a variety of other issues. This is a testament to our department's very strong goal of reaching a satisfactory conclusion that meets our interests and also the interests of the islanders, and I hope you are wrong. I hope that the political deliberations will be intense but short, because I think it is in the interests of both
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Well, maybe it is in his capacity of negotiating with the FSM that I am referring to.
Mr. YOUNG. Gentlemen, I am going to recognize the gentleman from America Samoa for about half a minute. Then I am going to recognize Mr. Doolittle and then Mr. Miller again.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I just want it clear for the record, I have here excerpts taken from a January 13-14, 1956, meeting of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission Advisory Committee on Biology and Medicine, quotes taken regarding Utirik Atoll. Utirik is by far the most contaminated place in the world. Utirik is a very intriguing place that can be madea study can be made for the people, studies to get a measure of the human uptake when people live in a contaminated environment.
Quote, while it is true these people, the Utirik people, do not live, I would say, the way Westerners do, civilized people, it is nevertheless also true that these people are more like us than the mice, end of quote. People in Utirik were exposed to 24,000 millirems when the Bravo test was taken in 1954. The Environmental Protection Agency standard regulates a maximum limit of 15 millirems per year as a maximum dose limit for human beings.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The gentleman from California, Mr. Doolittle.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Seligman, or actually maybe it is Mr. Boyce that I would wish to address this question to first: The issue of the compact renegotiations, that will commence in earnest this fall; is that right?
Mr. BOYCE. Yes, sir.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. And could you describe the process of the compact renegotiations? I mean, that extends over a certain number of months, I guess, and is expected to be completed by what time?
Mr. BOYCE. The scheduled duration is 2 years, Congressman, and as Al Stayman here to my left who will be the special negotiator has indicated, we will try to do it in a way that minimizes the enormous travel requirements and, you know, budgetary resources on both sides. So we are trying to meet halfway as much as possible and, of course, working in the FSM or in the FAS states and in Washington as well.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DOOLITTLE. So the FAS, their compact is going to be up at the same time; is that right?
Mr. BOYCE. There are actually two separate compacts as a part of this. Maybe I could ask Al to answer it specifically.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Okay.
Mr. STAYMAN. Congressman, there was one Compact, the Compact of Free Association, which was nested in the Compact Act, which Congress passed with a number of additions. That covers both the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia. Many of the provisions are due to expire at the end of the 15th year. The renegotiations will be focused only on those due to expire. We will begin in the 13th year. If we are not finished by the 15th year, there is an automatic 2-year extension if negotiations are ongoing.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. And you are the chief negotiator for both of those?
Mr. STAYMAN. Yes, I have been elected for that position, and won't begin for several weeks.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Okay. Could you tell us what issues you intend to include in the compact negotiations?
Mr. STAYMAN. Well, you have put me in a very awkward position. I not only don't have the job, I don't have negotiating instructions. But I think just from discussions today, health care certainly has to be a primary issue of concern, certainly to the people of the FAS. And I imagine the Committee, too, would share my concern about making sure that the level of health care, particularly in the Marshall Islands, where there is the nuclear legacy, is substantially improved.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Will these negotiations include additional money beyond the initial $150 million for the settlement of the nuclear-related claims?
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. STAYMAN. As far as money in connection with nuclear claims settlement, the procedure set forth in the Compact is the so-called changed circumstances provisions of Article 9 of the 177 Subsidiary Agreement. We expect the Marshall Islands will be submitting a petition for further compensation under those provisions. So at this time we expect, because the procedures laid forth in the law are different, that specific compensation for nuclear claims would be handled, you know, through the Article 9 changed circumstances petition.
I would just note, however, that there is a generic blanket authorization for Congress to provide additional money at any time, section 105(c) of the Compact, and it has been exercised from time to time by Congress.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. It was my privilege to visit the Marshall Islands with the congressional delegation that went there a few months ago, and that has never been exactly clear to me, how theyonce the people of Bikini were sent back, went there to live, and then they sent them away again after they reversed their position that had previously been determined that it was safe to live there. And I guess they are now asking for, which is reasonable in light of their history, I think, for some sort of a guarantee from the administration that it is safe for the people to resettle there. Could you tell us what the administration's position might be on that?
Mr. STAYMAN. Yes. In fact, the leadership of Bikini met with the Secretary of the Interior several months ago asking for such a guarantee. The Secretary's response was really two part. The first is that, in light of the mistake, if we can call it that, in the earlier resettlementthat is, the U.S. Government said it was safe to go back, they went back, data showed that because of their consumption of local food, their dose was going above what had been predicted and they had to be moved offwhen Congress did the Compact, there was a great awareness of the problem in having the islanders rely upon assurances from the Federal Government.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That is why the resettlement agreements, if you look at the legislative history there, empower the locals to hire their own experts and exercise their own judgment with respect to going back, and that doesn't mean that the U.S. is not going to be there. The Department of Energy has an aggressive program in monitoring.
It is really more a question of are we going to be a partner in this process or are we going to be directing this process. Our concern was that having the U.S. direct resettlement had not been a successful policy and that this policy of partnership, which is now working, I think, much better, or certainly it is working very well in the case of Rongelap, and Bikini not far behind.
A second point that the Secretary made was that you really couldn't say very much about resettlement until the remediation recommendations had actually taken place. Now, what is happening in Rongelap is they have signed a contract, and they are implementing these remediation recommendations that, you know, DOE, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and their own experts all agree on. So, when they complete that process and are able to verify that scientifically, then it is time, I think, for individuals to make a decision as to whether or not they are reassured personally enough to go home.
Mr. YOUNG. Mr. Stayman, I love your dissertation, but that is enough right now.
Mr. STAYMAN. Okay.
Mr. YOUNG. Mrs. Christensen.
Mrs. CHRISTENSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Many of my questions have been answered, but I was champing at the bit on the health issues. So I just wanted to sort of make a comment, and maybe I can get a response if you feel one is indicated.
But I am concerned about the scope of the health care that is provided, and we heard some comments like criteria may be manipulated or that the people who are covered, the numbers have been inflated, and maybe some doubt about what changed circumstances could be brought to bear on the negotiations. And I realize that the Department of Energy has provided care for those who are directly exposed in this funding, although not enough for those who have been relocated.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But as a family physician for more than 20 years, I cannot discount what Congressman Underwood talked about in terms of the anxiety and the effects that that has on the health of the people of the Marshall Islands, and it extends beyond those who were exposed or the families of those who werethe progeny of those who were exposed. That has a terrific effect on a broad number of health issues.
And in addition to that, there was some discussion prior on the loss of the vegetation and the normal and traditional diet, and there have been many studies that have demonstrated how that affects the health of people adversely and produces many chronic illnesses.
So when we talk about providing health care and as we look to negotiating a new compact, we can't draw a line with those who were directly affected or those who are related to those affected because it is really far-reaching. And since it sounds as though we knew that the wind had shifted, that there might have been time to not have that nuclear testing take place, we have a serious responsibility here. And it sounds like all of the health care needs of the people, you know, may be related to this event because it sets off a series of health events, and it is very difficult to distinguish where it ends.
Mr. STAYMAN. I think you raised an excellent point, Congresswoman. The Compact structured health care in a way that there are essentially three layers of programs, and what we are seeing is certainly a desire by people to get themselves into a more sophisticated program. We have to go back in the context of renegotiation and look very carefully at these concerns you talk about, the health concerns of changes in diet and also the need to reassure people and deal with the anxiety caused by living in an environment in which there has been testing.
Mrs. CHRISTENSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. YOUNG. All right. I thank the lady.
Mr. Miller, you had a couple more questions.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MILLER. Just to follow up. Let me state, and I just want to put this on the record at this time because I may not be here when they testify, but the testimony of John Mauro is that the criteria used in resettlement, the criteria differ markedly from the cleanup criteria of 170 millirems for the average individual cited by Lawrence Livermore Lab:
''The results of our analyses revealed that if the Marshall Islands were a State in the United States, resettlement of the northern island of Enewetak Atoll would not be permitted under EPA criteria without extensive remediation and/or institutional controls.''
And I just put that in the record because apparently that is where this concern has been raised about the analysis of the data, and I want to raise that point here so hopefully the other panels can respond to it.
I also want toyou mentioned in response to Mr.I think to Mr. Faleomavaega, that if the Marshallese knew about additional classified documents you would be happy to know about it. The burden is not on them. The burden is whether the department knows about additional classifiedhave all the documents been declassified and disseminated?
Mr. SELIGMAN. I doubt that all of the documents have been declassified. No, they have not.
Mr. MILLER. So the answer isn't whether or not you have given 170 boxes. The question is, has all the relevant data put out into the public as was promised? Where are we in that process?
Mr. SELIGMAN. I will have to get an answer for you. I don't know.
Mr. MILLER. Mr. Stayman, do you know where we are in the declassification of all this information?
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. STAYMAN. I know that the DOE did an extensive review in response to their annual meetings with the communities. I don't know if that review has been concluded.
Mr. MILLER. So we haven't had a summation done of what has been released, what hasn't been released or anything to date, do you know?
Mr. STAYMAN. Well, I am sure there is a record of what has been released. Your question of what is left, I don't know whether it is an ongoing process or
Mr. SELIGMAN. We have a summation and inventory of everything that has been released.
Mr. MILLER. Can you makedo you have a summation of what is yet to be released?
Mr. SELIGMAN. Yes, we do.
Mr. MILLER. Can you provide that for the Committee?
Mr. SELIGMAN. Absolutely.
Mr. MILLER. That might be helpful. If I might, just one quick question, Mr. Chairman. The status of the $150 million trust fund is what today?
Mr. STAYMAN. It is paying out, you know, the health, the payments to the four communities, the tribunal administration, and then the remainder is paid out for individual and community claims which are filed and adjudicated by the tribunal. So I don't know what the balance is now, but it is continuing its work.
Mr. MILLER. Is that a trust fund where the core can bethe principal can be invaded?
Mr. STAYMAN. Yes.
Mr. MILLER. So it is not just a question of what the trust fund spins off, it is a declining balance in the trust fund?
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. STAYMAN. Right. In fact, at the end of year 15, the Compact requires that any residual be transferred to the United States Treasury.
Mr. MILLER. So it is sort of a trust fund. It is a trust fund that can be invaded, and the expectation is that at the end of 15 years it will be exhausted or there will be some small residual there to be returned.
Mr. STAYMAN. Right. The provisions require that the payments be made out essentially on a pro rata basis, and if more money is available, then you would pay more.
Mr. MILLER. So it is not just out of earnings, so to speak?
Mr. STAYMAN. Right. There is a schedule to make sure that earnings cover key programs but not necessarily cover all the claims.
Mr. MILLER. Is that happening?
Mr. STAYMAN. Yes, that is happening. They have only paidthey can tell youit is about 60 percent or 50 percent on claims so far, and that number may decrease.
Mr. MILLER. Thank you.
Mr. YOUNG. I want to thank the panel for your testimony. There will probably be some written questions. Mr. Stayman, I want to congratulate you, and we will be watching you very carefully in these negotiations.
Mr. STAYMAN. Thank you.
Mr. YOUNG. And I would also suggest that one other thing, this is not off the record, but it concerns me, we are talking about $150 million, a very small amount of money for a great many people that were displaced, and when this disaster, if it ever comes to an end in Europe, it will be $200 billion rebuilding a country that we tore down.
I think we ought to put this in perspective and say we also have done some things that we ought to be willing to bite the bullet for. Under the guise of humanitarian principles and defense, we ought to really address the issues that affect these people, and I want to thank the panel.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. STAYMAN. Thank you.
Mr. YOUNG. You are excused.
The gentleman from Guam.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Mr. Chairman, I remember that Mr. Stayman said he had no instructions for negotiations. Perhaps we can have a hearing and help him get some.
Mr. YOUNG. I am confident before Mr. Stayman is through with these negotiations there will be a lot of input from individuals on this Committee.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Okay. Thank you.
Mr. YOUNG. The next panel will be the Honorable Philip Muller, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Majuro, Marshall Islands; the Honorable Marie L. Maddison, Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Majuro, Marshall Islands; H.E. Tony A. deBrum, Minister of Finance, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Majuro, Marshall Islands.
And I would like at this time, all the honorable people, to extend my thanks to yourselves, and of course the president, and our reception we had and the exposure that we had to your fine people and your parliament. So, again, you are welcome.
Mr. Muller, you are first up.
STATEMENT OF PHILIP MULLER, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE, REPUBLIC OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS
Mr. MULLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, before I get to the serious issues in front of the Committee, I would just like to let you know I am still feeding your marlin.
Mr. YOUNG. Thank you, sir. The one I didn't catch and you did.
Mr. MULLER. Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the House Committee on Resources, it is an honor for me and my colleagues to appear before you today on behalf of the Republic of the Marshall Islands Government. In addition to those of us seated in the front, I have with me the speaker and the vice-speaker of Nitijela, as well as representatives from the four atolls, including Minister Johnsay Riklon, Minister Hiroshi Yamamura, Senator Henchi BalosSenator Ishmael John and Senator Henchi Balos from Kwajalein.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC First of all, allow me to convey the greetings of President Kabua and the people of the Marshall Islands, as well as our sincere appreciation to you, Mr. Chairman, members and staff, who joined this Committee's CODEL to the Marshall Islands. We also thank you for convening this important hearing to consider the complex radiological conditions in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Before I begin, I want to extend our congratulations to Mr. Allen Stayman as the U.S. Government's compact negotiator. Mr. Stayman is well respected in the Marshall Islands and knowledgeable about our bilateral relationship. We look forward to working with him. However, because the prices of this upcoming renegotiation is still unclear to the Marshall Islands, we hope to receive assurances that the position has full authorization to negotiate on behalf of the U.S. Government.
My testimony today focuses on the unique and important bilateral relationship between the U.S. and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Secretary Maddison will summarize where the four atolls are in terms of their progress in addressing various radiology issues. Mr. deBrum will shed light on the national impacts of the testing program, as well as the successes and failures of the section 177.
Mr. Chairman, it is gratifying for the RMI government to know that the U.S. and the RMI Governments share the same commitment to our bilateral relationship, as this Committee has demonstrated both in the Compact of Free Association and in the corresponding resolutions recently forwarded by the House of Representatives and the Nitijela.
As you know, the Marshall Islands provide the U.S. with a buffer zone between the U.S. and potential threats from Asia. The Compact also provides the U.S. with sole military access to approximately 1 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean where no other foreign military can enter. The Marshall Islands supports U.S. activities in relation to the testing of its missile defense programs at the Ronald Reagan Strategic Defense Initiative Test Site at Kwajalein Atoll.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC On many occasions, the RMI Government has promptly accommodated the Department of Defense requests to utilize additional islands in Kwajalein, as well as islands in the northern parts of the Marshall Islands to expand these activities. The RMI Government is pleased to support the strategic needs of the United States. We are all familiar with the nuclear legacy in the Marshall Islands and the Marshallese people's contribution to the end of the Cold War.
My main point today is that it is imperative to assist the communities adversely affected by the testing program. In addition to being a moral and legal obligation, raising the needs of the nuclear-affected communities is essential to maintaining the strategic partnership.
While the RMI Government is committed to its bilateral relationship with the U.S., we believe that the U.S. Government must address the lingering needs of communities affected by the U.S. military objectives, including communities displaced by the missile testing program.
Communities in the Marshall Islands suffer from the hardships of displacement, radiation-related health and environmental problems, and a variety of social and economic problems that my two colleagues at this table will expand upon. The RMI Government knows that the assistance provided in Section 177 of the Compact is manifestly inadequate to respond to our complex radiological needs in the Marshall Islands. We request that this Committee address the inadequacies of section 177.
Fortunately, Congress provides a mechanism in the Compact for our nations to consider the need for additional assistance to address the consequences of the U.S. nuclear weapons testing program. This mechanism is Article 9 of section 177 of the Compact, the changed circumstances provision. The RMI Government will submit a changed circumstances petition for Congress to consider in the very near future. This petition demonstrates that injuries resulting from the U.S. nuclear testing program have arisen and been discovered in the RMI since the Compact took effect, that could not reasonably have been discovered in the RMI prior to the effective date of the Compact.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The RMI Government looks forward to working with Congress in consideration of the RMI's petition on changed circumstances. As strategic partners, we will continue to extend into the future the RMI Government hopes to gain the cooperation of this community in considering this petition.
Mr. Chairman, the RMI Government also requests this Committee's assistance to address the difficulties the RMI Government is having in implementing the economic provisions of the Compact. One of the fundamental tenets of the Compact is the notion of mutual security. This principal is expressly stated in the mutual security agreement, and I will quote:
''The Government of the United States and the Government of the Marshall Islands recognize that sustained economic advancement is a necessary contributing element to the mutual security goals expressed in this agreement.''
The concept of mutual security is premised on the shared security resulting from the Compact. The U.S. gains military security and the Marshall Islands gain economic security. Specific provisions in the Compact are intended to foster economic development in the Marshall Islands, a condition necessary to support the security requirements of the United States.
Although there are many provisions of the Compact intended to boost the RMI security and economic development, the RMI Government is having great difficulty implementing these provisions. Unfortunately, these provisions provide some of the most basic services to the Marshallese people. These provisions, which I detail in my written statement, include economic benefits to offset large economic incentives, essential air services, and the rights of Marshallese to seek employment benefits.
Regrettably, the RMI notes that the U.S. has locked in security rights under the Compact, and it enjoys those on an ongoing basis, some in perpetuity, and yet when it comes to performing U.S. corresponding obligations to support economic development, the RMI Government encounters stalling and excuses from the administration.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With regard to the RMI's economic development, I am pleased to report that although the RMI receives very one-sided criticism of the RMI's economic initiatives by the Department of State, we have made tremendous strides in the last year. Some of our progress includes lowering taxes, adopting legislation to establish an intergenerational trust fund and to attract foreign investment, unprecedented cooperation with the business community, and increased transparency in the government.
Mr. Chairman, I find it outrageous that we would hear from the State Department without recognizing some of the positive efforts that we have taken to make our economy more viable and more vibrant. We will have a chance to respond to some others.
I thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Muller follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 11 TO 27 HERE
Mr. YOUNG. Thank you, Mr. Muller, excellent testimony.
The Honorable Marie Maddison.
STATEMENT OF MARIE L. MADDISON, SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE, REPUBLIC OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS
Ms. MADDISON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Before I make my statement, I would like to note for the record the written statement submitted by the four atoll delegations, and I also have a summary of the written statement for detail.
Mr. YOUNG. It will go in, without objection.
Ms. MADDISON. Chairman Young, distinguished members of the House Resources Committee, representatives of the U.S. Government, ladies and gentlemen, I am honored today to relate to you a story, a story of four unique Marshallese communities who, more than forty years after the United States concluded its nuclear testing program in the Marshall Islands, continue to live with a nuclear legacy that shapes their daily existence.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is important to understand the valuable relationship that exists between land and community, community and the ecosystem, the ecosystem and the sustainability in the Marshall Islands. It is very important because we are talking about communities that were uprooted, torn apart, scattered and contaminated.
To address the road to recovery, therefore, government measures should help the affected communities to grow roots, mend and cement the tears, bring together the segments and clean up or get rid of the contaminants. The Governor of the Republic of the Marshall Islands supports each of the four most affected communities, Enewetak, Rongelap, Utirik and Bikini, in their respective efforts to recover themselves and rebuild the lives of not only their communities but also individual members of their communities.
The price of reconstruction requires accessibility to noncontaminated land. Thus, land and contamination are two long-standing issues that are yet to be fully or properly resolved.
I recognize congressional outreach in supporting radiological efforts of Enewetak, Bikini and Rongelap. However, additional support is sorely needed in the following areas.
Moneys generated by trust funds for cleanup are an essential element to the recovery price of these atolls. While trust funds cannot replace the lasting value of land, it can be the next best thing, as we have seen demonstrated by existing trust funds. Enewetak's claims are minimal, $160 million, minimally sufficient to clean and rehabilitate its northern islands, while Rongelap requires the full $45 million, and Bikini finds its $90 million resettlement trust fund barely adequate. Contamination of Utirik is yet to be assessed.
These figures may sound large, but please compare them to the $147 billion estimate for the DOE program of cleanup in the United States. Compared to these billions, RMI figures are modest and reasonable.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The availability of trusted scientific expertise to guide cleanup and recovery steps is just as important. While the collection of scientific data may not be an issue, the interpretation of data is a major concern. We do not want to repeat the mistake of a premature resettlement. Chronic exposure to radiation, the related health problems, and the psychological and social stress of repeated removals is the legacy left to the Enewetak, Rongelap and Bikini communities that were prematurely resettled.
Recognition of an agreed-upon cleanup standard is essential to ensure safety in an affected environment. The EPA standard of 15 millirems has been adopted by the Nuclear Claims Tribunal. We believe that RMI citizens deserve to be protected to the same standard as U.S. citizens, the collaboration of expertise among those in fields related to nuclear radiation, health, agriculture, ecoculture. The food chain and the human body are complex systems that require a coordinated range of services. The communities will continue to need the availability of the USDA food programs and related technical support at this stage of recovery.
The recovery process also requires accessibility of the people to quality education and health care services. Again, earnings from the trust fund mechanism have supported the education of the members of these respective communities in the form of additional teachers, better school facilities and scholarships.
One aspect of the recovery, an additional need that is yet to be addressed, is the advancement of the people in radiation-related fields. Additional assistance should be provided toward the promotion of such a knowledge in these communities.
The availability of the 177 health care program and the DOE medical monitoring program has not been appropriately established and linked to make quality health care accessible to the community members. It is thus important that additional support should be provided to the 177 health care program, and that the medical team in the DOE program treat all members of the community it serves.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Availability of needed support infrastructure in the areas of transportation, power generation and communication are needed to fully access recovery and sustainability of these communities. The cost expended by the communities to address transportation needs such as shipment of USDA food commodities, transport of drivers, et cetera, are major drains in the budget of these communities. While Utirik had experimented with solar powered community lighting systems, much is yet to be done to improve such technology and other energy-related areas to support the efforts of the communities.
As it is with the transportation and power generation, communication is necessary to bring persons and communities together, and it is a priority area of need, particularly for all the outer islands of the Republic.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, the needs of the people of Enewetak, Rongelap, Utirik and Bikini should be truly and adequately assessed and addressed in a coordinated and comprehensive manner.
It is quite obvious that, one, cleanup is still an issue and should be addressed properly. Cleanup efforts should complement and supplement the development of knowledge and expertise in nuclear exposure related fields within the Republic, particularly in the affected communities. In addition, a cleanup standard must be agreed upon.
Two, equitable fund adjustments are needed under the trust fund mechanism for all the communities to improve their resource base and address community needs.
Three, USDA food programs and technical expertise from the U.S. Government need to be extended to complement, supplement, enhance the efforts, the recovery efforts of the communities.
Four, expansion of the scope of the DOE medical monitoring program to include all residents of the affected communities will lead to a better collaboration with the existing 177 health care and other national health care programs.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Five, provision of additional assistance toward transportation, power generation and communication are just as needed to fully implement and enhance the recovery and development of strategies of these communities.
I thank you for your attention and support.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Maddison follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 28 TO 38 HERE
Mr. YOUNG. I thank you, Marie, and you do notice that I have been letting you go over time, because anybody flies as far as you, you can have half the day if you want to.
Ms. MADDISON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. YOUNG. I am going to listen to Mr. Tony deBrum, Minister of Finance, Republic of Marshall Islands, and I am going to have to excuse myself. Mr. Doolittle will take over the Chair after I listen to your testimony, and then there will be some questions, as I have to go to another meeting. You are up.
STATEMENT OF TONY A. deBRUM, MINISTER OF FINANCE, REPUBLIC OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS
Mr. TONY A. DEBRUM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, I join the Foreign Minister in thanking you and the Committee for visiting with us. We thoroughly enjoyed the visit, and we hope you will be doing another one very, very soon.
I am going to concentrate my remarks on the inadequacies of the 177 program and probably some of the reasons why it is inadequate.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As you know, the Compact provisions for the nuclear problems, the 177 agreement was based on a study done by the Department of Energy called the 1978 Radiological Survey of the Northern Marshalls, which was presented to us as the definitive study on the full extent of damages in the Marshalls. Based on that, we agreed on the Compact and the subsidy agreement. Had we known what we know now about the full extent of the damages, I do not think we would have approved the Compact. I think for sure we would have had to have a radically different 177 agreement.
Since the 1994 hearings and since the Department of Energy released additional information previously classified, we have discovered to our satisfaction and we now conclude that information was withheld not only from us, from the Marshallese negotiators, but perhaps from the American negotiators as well, and certainly from Congress, because Congress would not have approved of this arrangement had it known the full extent of the damage. We are convinced of that now.
The definition of legally exposed people, that 174 people that were actually on island during the Bravo test, is also a very erroneous basis upon which to program the medical care. The reason for that is that people were exposed all over the Marshalls through 67 shots, not just to Bravo. The cumulative doses that can be calculated now backwards demonstrate that all the people of the Marshall Islands were exposed.
What happens is that you have a multimillion dollar program sponsored by Congress to deal with the so-called legally exposed 174 people, while the people surrounding those people are not eligible for the same care. They are tendered the 177 health program, which is much more poorly subsidized. The remaining population on the Marshalls must be taken care of by our government, which has even less resources to deal with the programwith the problems of medical and other monetary requirements. These all need to be expanded.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It has been alluded that all the classified information that we need to make even better judgments on what happened to us have been released. They have not. And you are right, Mr. Chairman, the onus is on the Department of Energy to present us with what really needs to be known. We don't know what is classified and what is not. They are the ones who know it, but what has been released has been most helpful and we continue to study them.
In fact, attached to my statement, which I hope will be in the record, if I didn't ask for it already, one of the attachments is a document we recently discovered that indicates that DOE was aware that there were a lot more problems, medical problems, including iodine-related thyroid problems in the rest of the Marshall Islands, and they were quite prepared to set up surgery arrangements for these people once the requirement was made by someone or once the administration agreed to include these people. When this was not included in the Compact, that plan was abandoned.
Included in that document is a very clear statement that shows that, that betrays really the research as opposed to the medical nature of the program that DOE conducted over these years. We are hopeful that more information can be provided so that we can be more informed as to what the true exposure levels of the Marshalls might be.
Included in my statement are the following requests to the Committee: One, that an ex gratia payment to supplement the Nuclear Claims Tribunal payments be made as soon as possible; that there be institutional and infrastructure support for the Republic of the Marshall Islands public health sector; that we seriously consider the expansion of eligibility for the DOE medical program to include more people, people that really, truly deserve it in the Marshalls; that there be an inflation adjustment for the four atoll health care programs; and that a directive be sent to the U.S. Public Health Service to provide resources, doctors, to the Marshall Islands. We are eligible for another Compact, but which we have found impossible to implement because of monetary requirements.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Six, we should begin training and education programs for Marshallese in the fields of environmental science and radiation health, in order to transfer this technology to people who need it most. We cannot continue to depend on outside doctors and outside expertise to take care of our own. We want to learn how to take care of our own. I think we can learn, too, if you can help us.
A directive to DOE should be sent to conclude an agreement on cleanup standards and worker safety standards that more closely match those standards that you set for American citizens. I think we deserve the same standard.
There should be a nationwide cancer registry program in the Marshalls. Right now, there are bits of information being put together from different studies conducted by different agencies over many years, but no one has actually put one of these registries together that would show the true extent of the cancer problem in the Marshalls.
We should also enjoy continued committeeyour Committee, Mr. Chairmanrepresentation at our annual DOE-RMI consultation. We think that is very important and is very helpful.
Finally and most importantly, prompt consideration of the RMI's changed circumstances petition which, as the Foreign Minister indicated, we will be submitting shortly.
I will be happy to answer questions. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. deBrum follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 39 TO 56 HERE
Mr. YOUNG. I thank you. I have one. Who is going to be in the negotiating team on your behalf? Do you have any idea who is going to be set up?
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MULLER. I will be, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. YOUNG. You will be. Very good.
Mr. MULLER. And a couple other members of our cabinet.
Mr. YOUNG. Mr. Muller, especially, and Marie, you made some suggestions which I deeply appreciate, because we are going to be directly involved with you in these negotiations or at least watching to see what happens as time goes by.
I happen to agree with you, Mr. Muller. I don't believebecause I was here when that Compact was signed. We did not have the information ourselves, and I am going to officially request that information be made available, because I can't figure out what in the world it is classified for now other than to protect someone's behind. There is certainly no military significance to what those tests did. That is pretty common knowledge that is being advanced by other countries now, so that information should be made available to you so you can analyze it.
But I am very much interested in your presentation and what we can apply it with, and as time goes by, Mr. Mansur has been directed and I am sure this young lady has also been on site, we will be watching this very closely.
With that, Mr. Doolittle, I hope you will conduct this meeting, and I thank you very much for your testimony. I will try to get back for the third panel.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. [presiding] Maybe I will just continue with and take my time now, serving as the acting chairman.
I understand that the RMI has passed laws affecting the awarding of nuclear claims by the Nuclear Claims Tribunal. Would one of you be able to identify those laws and describe their purpose and impact on the Nuclear Claims Tribunal?
Mr. TONY A. DEBRUM. Mr. Chairman, there is a Nuclear Claims Tribunal Act which was enacted by our parliament establishing the Nuclear Claims Tribunal, giving it the authority to do all those things that we agreed in the 177 Agreement with the United States that it must do in order to function. There are also cases where at the direction of cabinet, the parliament would also pass the necessary legislation to include certain conditions, for example, that the VeteransUnited States Veterans Administration holds for their own people, photogenic diseases, conditions that are considered compensable, et cetera. I would hope that some of this more detailed information about those can be given when our tribunal chairman joins the next panel and gives you more information on that.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DOOLITTLE. That would be fine. Thank you.
Can you tell us what is the status of the nationwide radiological study, and could a copy be provided to the Committee?
Mr. MULLER. Mr. Chairman, we would be more than delighted to provide a copy of the study. We in the Marshall Islands had some concerns in the way that the study was done and the way that the information and data were collected, and we still continue to question some of the conclusions that the study had come up with, and we certainly will provide all of that to your Committee.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Okay. Thank you.
For Secretary Maddison, you indicated that the Marshall Islands support the Bikini Island's request for 3 percent distribution from the trust fund. Has this request been raised to the administration, and do you know what is preventing the distribution?
Ms. MADDISON. Yes. According to the information that we have received, these arrangements have been made.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. I am sorry, the disbursement has been made?
Ms. MADDISON. The arrangement.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. The arrangement
Ms. MADDISON. Yes.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. [continuing] to disburse the 3 percent has been made? Okay.
If I had had time, I would have asked the previous panel this question, but maybe one of you can tell me the answer. They were talking about how to get a commercial airline ticket into the Marshall Islands is like a 2- or 3-month waiting period. Is that what I heard?
Mr. TONY A. DEBRUM. That is right.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DOOLITTLE. And is that because airline service has been scaled back, or because there is some increased demand to go into the Marshall Islands or out of the Marshall Islands?
Mr. TONY A. DEBRUM. If I may answer that, Mr. Chairman, the servicethe level of air service into the Marshalls now is half of what it was prior to the effective date of the Compact, 1986. We used to have four flights a week in from Guam and four flights in and out to Honolulu. It is now two. We have tried to get Aloha Airlines in Hawaii to provide a supplemental service and have agreed with them for this service, but had some difficulties with approval that Dr. Campbell indicated earlier this morning have all been granted, and would expect that service to start soon.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Oh, good. Thank you.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from American Samoa.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to say my welcome and thank you, and if I could repeat it in a very nice way, iakwe, kommol tata. To Mr. Muller and Mr. deBrum and Ms. Maddison, we are very happy that you are able to come and testify before this Committee, for which I am also happy that the chairman and the Ranking Member on this side of the aisle is very much interested in the problems affecting the people of the Marshall Islands.
Minister Muller, you had indicated in your testimony that there are basically two aspects of the whole negotiations process when your people negotiated this Compact with the U.S. Government. One, basically, our interest was strategic. It was not for the love of the Marshallese people. It was basically strategic, and the reason why the U.S. unilaterally declared the whole Micronesian area as a strategic trust, without even consulting the Trusteeship Council or anybody in the United Nations, we just went ahead and grabbed you guys and said you are now a part of the strategic trust of the United States.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You indicated you have some very serious problems in this equation. You have given the U.S. somewhat of a free hand in terms of maintaining or sustaining our strategic interests. What about your economic development? What seems to be the biggest problem that you have? Is it lack of money? Is it lack of guidance? What seems to be the problem that you have encountered the last 13 years?
Mr. MULLER. Let me, Congressman, try to answer that question by saying first of all that the Compact agreement was entered into to benefit both of our countries, and as I say that in my testimony, we have lived up to all of our obligations under the Compact. At the same time, we feel that as the Compact comes to a close, the 15 years, there are a number of issues and provisions that have not been developed the way the administration expected.
Specifically, we are looking at section 111(b), which is a provision that was put in to replace the tax incentives that were originally agreed to, and this is the authorization of $20 million that would have helped in our economic development and economic programs. That has not materialized, only $2 million of that.
Essentially, health services has been allowed to lapse since September of 1998. We continue to ask that your Committee look into ways to reinstate the essential air services because, after all, air transportation is very important to the economic development of our country.
At the same time, we have got our own effort to move our economy forward. As I say in my testimony, we have introduced legislation to provide incentives to our local businesses to grow. We have lowered taxes. We have provided more transparent legislation that would allow for easier foreign investment to come into the Marshall Islands.
So, despite all of this, I think it is very important that before we commence negotiations on a new economic package, that some of these outstanding issues must be taken care of.
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. As you know, Mr. Muller, at the height of the Cold War we, or the government, the U.S. Government, decided as part of the negotiations in approving the Compact that the U.S. Government was to provide approximately $2 billion for a 15-year period, not just to the Marshall Islands but also for the Palau as well as for the Federated States of Micronesia.
It was about a year or two years ago, former U.S. Ambassador to the Marshalls, William Bodie, made a statement that we have failed to the extent that we have given to the Marshalls, I gather, too much money; that we have not done a good job in providing assistance, for whatever that assistance might be. Do you agree with Ambassador Bodie's observation about this?
Mr. MULLER. I totally do not agree with that, Congressman. First of all, let us remember that the bulk of that money that comes under the Compact is earmarked for radiation compensation to the four atolls and to land leases for Kwajalein Atoll. Only a certain percentage of that fund comes to the operation of government and for projects.
Second, when the government came into being, we entered an infrastructure that was really not there. There was no power, there was no road, there was no good health care system, no education system, and we needed to spend funding on some of those projects to bring up the level of infrastructure requirements for the people.
So I do not agree with that assessment.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Chairman, my time is up. I will wait for the next round.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. The Chair recognizes Dr. Christensen for her questions.
Mrs. CHRISTENSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have two questions. I guess I would direct it to Mr. deBrum.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The first one, how much additional money is being requested to complete the compensation program, the $22.9 mllion?
Mr. TONY A. DEBRUM. Mr. Chairman, the $22.9 million cited in the petition filed by the Nuclear Claims Tribunal will only enable it to pay for current unpaid personal injury claims. It does not include any claims that are stemming from land damage or other damages that may be filed. We don't have that figure yet, and I think the government's position is that we all remain open to a later determination as to what that figure might be. But the immediate requirement, as I understand it, and the next tribunal will be here, the next panel, I understand that to be the figure, yes.
Mrs. CHRISTENSEN. Okay. I had a two-part question and you answered both parts.
Mr. TONY A. DEBRUM. Thanks.
Mrs. CHRISTENSEN. Thank you. Secretary Maddison, you talked about the types of difficulties that displacement causes, and in your statement, in your presentation you said that land is a lifeblood, and I suspect that you mean more than just that it provides food, that it must have some spiritual context, and could you elaborate on that for the record? What does the land havewhat relationship is there between the land and the people?
Ms. MADDISON. Thank you, Congresswoman. We are trying to explain how important land is in the Marshall Islands. Land is very scarce, and yet it is the foundation where you pass on to your children your inheritance. But when I talk about difficulties, I am talking about everything that they have, the communities have to do, like for example the communities that were displaced, they have to relearn the land.
If the children do not know their land rights, they don't know their clans, it is very difficult for them to have identity, root, which is really very important. Unless they have their identity and they are well-rooted, they are self-confident, it is very difficult for them to move in any way, whether it is health, education. So they have to relearn the land.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC They have to rebuild their homes, and homes and land are also very synonymous. Skills have to be taught because you are living in a different environment than when you were displaced. For example, you go from Rongelap to Najap. Well, Najap is a very far island within Kwajalein and it is very difficult to go to, very isolated in a way. Same as with the Bikinians when they were moved from an atoll to a small island which was surrounded by harsh conditions, big waves. So they have to learn new skills and how to fish, for example.
They also have to reform their schools. Building schools, that is another thing, and they are doing very well, for example, as I cited thatthe example from Enewetak where they are spending their money to bring in teachers, to build schools, and the others are also setting aside money for scholarships.
But before they can even think of education, they have to think of basic needs. So, unless they have been able to manage their basic needs, then they can spend time on education, and they have to restore their community life. You have communities that are in different places. As I said, they are scattered in different parts of the Marshall Islands, even in parts of the United States. So how can you bring all these communities together? You have a saying that is, ''out of sight, out of mind,'' which is very, very classic in this kind of example.
Mrs. CHRISTENSEN. I thank you, and I just wanted to thank you also for the kind hospitality that was extended to me and my husband when we visited, and it was really a pleasure to be there. I am glad I had an opportunity to come and visit and see the Marshall Islands firsthand. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Thank you.
Mr. Jones is recognized.
Mr. JONES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I regret that I have only been here for about 10 minutes and have to leave in about 5 minutes, but I wanted to say to the panelists that are here today that I, as one Member of Congress, appreciate your being here.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Recently I had the pleasure of meeting with the Ambassador from the Marshall Islands, and we had quite an extensive discussion regarding these issues, and I look forward to reading your testimony also. But I wanted to say, Mr. Chairman, that I think that this is a sad chapter in America's history, the way that we have not met our commitment and obligation to these people who have been exposed to our nuclear testing during the Cold War.
And I want to say to the citizens of the Marshall Islands that as one Member of Congress, I look forward to working with members on this Committee on both sides of the political aisle to do what needs to be done to make sure that we as an honorable Nation keep our commitment that we have made in the past and do everything that we can to enhance the lives of the citizens of the Marshall Islands, and particularly those who have developed a disease from the exposure to this nuclear testing.
So, Mr. Chairman, with that I want to thank you, Chairman Young, for bringing this hearing to the Committee and letting us work together in a bipartisan way to help the citizens of Marshall Islands. Thank you.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. I thank the gentleman. Let me inquire of my Members, is there the desire for Members to have a second round of questioning? The Chair recognizes Mr. Faleomavaega.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I do have a couple of more questions that I would like to ask the panelists, if I may.
Mr. Muller, as you know, one of the most hotly debated issues right now before the Congress is the issue of theater missile defense. Do you consider the Kwajalein missile range an important aspect of our strategic interests as far as the theater missile defense in the Pacific, as well as in other regions of the world?
Mr. MULLER. I think it is one of the most important sites to the strategic defense. As I have stated in our statement, we continue to make the commitment to make that available to the United States. At the same time we must look at some of the negative effects that have resulted from the presence of the military there.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. These missiles when they are fired from the United States, are they from California, Vandenberg as I recall?
Mr. MULLER. Vandenberg.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. These are ICBM's, right, and they are fired from California; and they get to Kwajalein in about one hour's time period?
Mr. MULLER. In seconds.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. In seconds? I see. We have been doing this for what, almost 50 years?
Mr. MULLER. Forty.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I would like to ask Minister deBrum, as you know, we have had a very interesting dialogue with Dr. Seligman of the Department of Energy. It is his considered opinion that as far as he is concerned the Department of Energy is doing a real fine job in providing proper and medical examination, not only to the environment in these atolls, but as well to the people. Do you takedo you agree, Minister deBrum, with that assessment?
Mr. OSCAR DEBRUM. Congressman, we do not agree with that assessment. As our statements will show you, we are indeed at odds on that. We hope that the testimony that some of the individual atollees and nuclear tribunal and some of the scientists that have been hired by Enewetak and Utirik will shed more light on that.
On that note, also, Congressman, if I may at this time enter into the record our intention to provide written answers to some of the remarkable concerns raised by the StateDepartment of State representative earlier. We think that that record ought to be settled.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Chairman, I would like unanimous consent that the members of the panel do offer statements for the record in response to some of the comments made earlier by the officials of the State Department as well as the other agencies represented.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DOOLITTLE. Without objection so ordered.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. deBrum, I noticed also in your statement that there was a legal classification. I assume the Department of Energythey said that the least amount of radioactive atomsin other words, people who shouldn't even be examined among the Marshallese people, and yet looking into this portion of the whole examination process, these so-calledthe least amount of radioactive people exposed to radiation, actually when they were examined, they were 250 times more exposure than if I were a U.S. citizen being exposed to the same contamination.
This is in reference to your earlier statement that as far as you are concerned all of the Marshallese people have been exposed because of this.
Mr. OSCAR DEBRUM. That is correct, sir. We consider all of the Marshallese people to be exposed. There are cases also where American citizens who lived in the Marshalls during this period have come down with radiogenic diseases but have nowhere to go for claims because they fall between the cracks. They were not in Utah. They were in the Marshalls. They cannot claim for radiogenic diseases because they are American citizens. That has to be looked at as well.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I know there was a national association of veterans. There was some 24,000 members nationwide, veterans who were exposed to our nuclear testing program, not only in the Pacific but also in New Mexico.
Believe it or not, we didn't do a very good job in conducting medical examinations for these sailors and soldiers who were also exposed to nuclear contamination as part of this test.
I notice my time is up, Mr. Chairman. I would like to thank members of the panel for their fine statements. Again, as our good friend Congresswoman Christensen said earlier about the hospitality, please extend our fondest aloha to President Imata Kabua and the members of the good people of the Marshalls for their hospitality and the beautiful reception we received when we visited these beautiful islands. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DOOLITTLE. Thank you. And I thank the members of the panel for appearing today. I would join in the comments of the others. The gracious hospitality that was extended to us was very much appreciated. The opportunity to visit the Marshall Islands and actually see some of the places mentioned and to understand better, it was a great opportunity. It certainly aided me as a member of the Committee. We will now excuse this panel and ask you to go oh, yes. Sorry, Mr. Underwood.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I know that many of the issues have already been discussed, and I won't take the Committee's time to do that except again to express my most sincere Komol tata for the hospitality and the good relationships I know that we have with the people of the Marshalls and also trying to attempt to bring some resolution to the issues that are surrounding this.
I certainly appreciate all of your commentary and I appreciate the idea of trying to develop the expertise locally within the RMI. That is an excellent suggestion. It is a shame that no one ever thought of that before. I am sure it has been thought of before. I mean, I have never heard it framed that way.
This is a matter of great concern because I still think that the anxiety caused by this and the way that it affects the lives of people every day cannot be measured in the millirems. It takes an enormous cost in terms of the human experience and the human condition and it is most regrettable that our country is responsible for that and I would like to also acknowledge that there are many people both in the Department of Energy and the Department of Interior, as well as Members of Congress that are obviously interested in seeing a resolution of this issue once and for all.
I certainly want to maintain my lines of communication open and to try to make as many documents or all the documents, not as many, all of the documents available to you in a comprehensible way so that you don't have to get a Ph.D. in engineering in order to understand them. We will have to wait for a few years for that, but I wanted to take the opportunity to express my thanks for the hospitality and the courtesies that was extended during the recent CODEL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. OSCAR DEBRUM. Thank you very much.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. We will have, no doubt, further questions and we will hold the record open and ask for your timely response. With that we will excuse this panel and call up the final panel, panel number three.
While the members of this panel are assembling themselves, I would just announce that we have certain statements submitted for the record, the first being by Senator Ismael John, Mayor Neptali Peter, and Davor Z. Pevec. So that is one statement. Those three have joined in that.
[The prepared statement of Messrs. John, Peter, and Pevec, and the prepared statement of Jonathan M. Weisgall follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 57 TO 79 HERE
Mr. DOOLITTLE. And the statement by Howard L. Hills.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hills follows:]
STATEMENT OF HOWARD L. HILLS*
In 1982 President Reagan's Ambassador for Micronesian political status negotiations was instructed, as a result of a National Security Council interagency policy review, to seek the earliest possible termination of the U.N. trusteeship under which the U.S. had administered vast island territories in the mid-Pacific since 1947. This was for reasons the most important of which included the increasingly significant role of the U.S. Army's missile testing range at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands in U.S. national security planning and programs.
While the international trusteeship regime gave the U.S. the legal authority to continue its strategic programs in the islands, it also gave the Soviet Union a platform in the Security Council and Trusteeship Council for propagandizing against and attempting to meddle in U.S. national security affairs, including what came to be known as the Strategic Defense Initiative. These considerations reinforced Reagan Administration determination to end the trusteeship in favor of a treaty-based relationship with a self-governing Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI).
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The single greatest obstacle to termination of the trusteeship with respect to the Marshall Islands was the difficult legacy of U.S. nuclear testing program carried out at Bikini and Enewetak from 1946 to 1958, and the unresolved question of U.S. responsibility for measures to address resulting injuries to persons and damage to lands. Following the establishment of constitutional government in the Marshall Islands, difficult negotiations regarding political status and the nuclear claims issues ensued. Although the final agreements reached in this process were imperfect and faced criticism in the RMI as well as in the United States, the RMI national government ultimately adopted a clear and unequivocal policy in support of the U.S. with respect to trusteeship termination and establishment of a bilateral strategic military alliance under the Compact of Free Association.
This enabled the U.S. to continue its strategic programs in the RMI, and the RMI achieved national sovereignty while preserving a close economic, social and political relationship with the United States. Rather than allowing the nuclear claims issue to persist in a state of legal and political controversy preventing succession of the RMI to separate sovereignty, the RMI entered into a settlement under Section 177 of the Compact under which legal proceedings in U.S. courts were terminated and mechanisms to address the testing claims in the future through bilateral political measures were instituted. The legal effects of this settlement and the intentions of the parties regarding such future measures are discussed below.
After approval of the Compact of Free Association by the U.S. Congress, including the nuclear claims settlement reached under Section 177 of that treaty, the RMI acted in concert with the U.S. in the Security Council, the Trusteeship Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations to sustain and win international acceptance of the measures taken by the U.S. in those bodies terminating the trusteeship. In the face of aggressive and high-visibility efforts led by the Soviet Union to prevent U.N. recognition of the legitimacy of the new status of the RMI and the bilateral relationship between our nations under the Compact, the RMI leadership and their diplomatic representatives stood boldly by the U.S. without wavering in a complex but successful effort to win international acceptance of this new American and RMI strategic alliance.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With RMI support and leadership in this effort a factor critical to U.S. success, the international community soon moved to recognize the relationship defined by the Compact, including the nuclear claims settlement. The U.S. goal of a successful transition from the U.N. trusteeship to a treaty-based bilateral relationship was achieved, and the SDI program activities at Kwajalein were vital to the success of U.S. global strategic policy in the 80's and 90's.
* From February of 1982 until April of 1986, Howard Hills served as Legal Counsel and Department of Defense Advisor to the President's Personal Representative for Micronesian Status Negotiations. During this period he was assigned to the Office for Micronesian Status Negotiations (OMSN), an interagency office within the National Security Council system responsible for negotiating the Compact of Free Association and representing the Executive Branch before Congress with respect to its ratification.
Subsequent to approval of the Compact, Hills served as Counsel for Interagency Affairs in the U.S. State Department's Office for Free Associated State Affairs. That office was responsible for establishment of government-to-government relations under the Compact.
Understanding the Nuclear Claims Settlement
At the time the Reagan Administration undertook its policy review of unresolved issues preventing the termination of the trusteeship, there were strongly held views by some in Congress and the Federal agencies concerned that a settlement of claims arising from the testing program was untenable if not impossible. This was due to the fact that the full extent of injuries to persons and damage to property was either not yet known or not public due to national security classification policies at the time. However, it had become obvious that the measures that had been taken by the U.S. to address the effects of the testing up to that point, including ex gratia assistance to the affected peoples as authorized by Congress, were manifestly inadequate.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC For example, Congress limited compensation to individuals from four atolls and provided such measures as $25,000 ''compassionate payments'' for individuals who developed thyroid tumors and had to have these organs removed. Medical treatment was provided by Federal agencies and contractors, but there were dual treatment and scientific research purposes behind much of these services, and much of the available information about the medical condition of individuals, as well as radiological conditions and related health risks in the islands, remained either classified or unavailable to the islanders in a form they could comprehend.
In the face of these and other troubling circumstances, the Carter Administration had agreed in principle that the U.S. should accept responsibility for the nuclear testing claims and terminate legal claims based on a negotiated political settlement. But an early draft of the Compact initialed by negotiators in 1980 left unanswered the question of how a settlement of claims arising from the testing program was to be structured. The Reagan Administration's policy review confirmed the need to negotiate a nuclear claims settlement based on recognition that the Marshall Islands could not emerge from trusteeship to self-government without first replacing the somewhat ad hoc measures that had been taken unilaterally by the U.S. up to that point with a more comprehensive program implemented bilaterally.
However, the legal position of the U.S. as represented in court submissions by the Department of Justice was that sovereign immunity, statute of limitations, political question doctrine and other legal defenses precluded U.S. courts from exercising jurisdiction or adjudicating liability in the nuclear claims. Since Congress had never extended the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens to the trusteeship territories in any form binding upon the United States, the U.S. did not acquire sovereignty under the trusteeship, and Congress did not choose to legislatively waive U.S. legal defenses so the cases could be adjudicated in the Federal courts, a negotiated bilateral settlement that provided other means to address the claims presented itself as the only available alternative to the somewhat random scheme of ex gratia payments previously authorized by Congress in the exercise of its political discretion.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Carter Administration efforts to come up with a solution were stymied by strong and very explicit Congressional opposition to any settlement that expanded the compensation program beyond the four atolls identified as eligible for ex gratia assistance in Federal statutes (e.g. Public Law 95-134 and Public Law 96-205). At the same time, leadership of Congressional committees with jurisdiction made it clear that any settlement which ended Congressional authority to determine the adequacy of past, present or future compensation would face committed opposition in the ratification process. To address these concerns, the Reagan Administration proposed to structure the settlement in a manner consistent with existing statutes to the extent practical. In addition, to preserve the residual authority of Congress over these claims a changed circumstances provision was included under which at the request of the RMI the Congress is to consider information and injuries discovered after the settlement enters into force to determine the adequacy of measures implemented under the settlement.
The settlement reached attempted to accommodate the competing forces described above, and was then included in the Compact of Free Association signed by the United States, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau in the 1982-1983 period. The Compact was approved by the U.S. Congress in 1985 and took effect in 1986 (Public Law 99-239). The nuclear claims settlement concluded pursuant to Section 177 of the Compact was expressly incorporated into the Compact, as approved by Congress in the form of a treaty and Federal statute law. As reflected in Section 177(b) of U.S. Public Law 99-239, under the final Compact the U.S. agreed to make ''provisions for the just and adequate settlement of all claims which have arisen . . . or which in the future may arise'' from the nuclear testing program.
Thus, one way to understand the Section 177 Agreement is as a substitute mechanism to replace the programs instituted by Congress acting unilaterally with a structured process for continuing on a bilateral basis a program of political measures to compensate and address the legacy of the nuclear tests. In accordance with the end of trusteeship status and the termination of U.S. authority over the nationals of the new republic, under this bilateral mechanism the RMI would act as sovereign on behalf of its citizens in carrying out the settlement.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In addition, the settlement provided for a 300 percent increase over the funding which Congress had previously established for making ex gratia payments under a series of statutes cited in Appendix A of the settlement agreement. Specifically, from 1946 to 1980 the ex gratia payments Congress had authorized totaled approximately $50 million for support to dislocated communities, scientific and medical programs, and cash payments to individuals. Under the Section 177 Agreement, $150 million was paid to the RMI to finance further compensation and measures through a trust fund established for that purpose.
However, it is imperative to a legally and politically correct understanding of the settlement to recognize that the amount of funding provided under the Section 177 Agreement was a political determination by the parties and was not based in whole or in part on an effort to assess or compute actual damages or just compensation for specific injuries or damage to property. Indeed, the amount provided was based on a U.S. political judgment as to the level of resources the U.S. should offer to establish and sustain the settlement politically in the RMI and Congress.
If the U.S. Congress or Executive Branch believed that litigation in the Federal courts would have resolved the legacy of the nuclear testing program in a satisfactory way, allowing the claimants their ''day in court'' to seek damages would have been one way to end, as opposed to fulfill, U.S. responsibility for the claims. But the U.S. believed litigation brought by Marshallese citizens in the U.S. courts would not result in a remedy, or might produce remedies unsatisfactory to the claimants and the RMI. At the same time, this would have reduced or eliminated political support in Congress and the Executive Branch for funding to establish a bilateral program to address the claims based on a continued U.S. role agreed to by the RMI under the Compact.
This, however, meant that the RMI and U.S. would have a continuing responsibility to evaluate and determine the adequacy of the political measures being taken to address the effects of the nuclear testing program based on all available knowledge and information, and on the results of the measures taken under the settlement. Thus, it would be wrong to conclude that the purpose of the Section 177 was to make the nuclear testing claims ''go away'' so that the Federal Government would never have to revisit the question of the adequacy of the measures implemented under the initial terms of the settlement.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC To the contrary, the termination of legal process was predicated on continuation of the political determination of the adequacy of the settlement by both the RMI and the U.S. Congress. Indeed, the Preamble of the settlement states that the purpose of the agreement is to ''create and maintain, in perpetuity, a means to address past, present and future consequences of the nuclear testing program.''
I personally addressed these issues in statements submitted to Congress on behalf of the Reagan Administration during Congressional hearings on the Section 177 Agreement. For example, my statement for the record of the Hearing on S.J. Res. 286, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Senate, May 24, 1984, included the following explanation:
''. . . the Marshall Islands Government may seek further assistance from Congress should changed circumstances render the terms of the agreement clearly inadequate . . . In brief, the Section 177 Agreement does not foreclose further measures for the benefit of the claimants, and they will have access in the future to an impartial claims tribunal for the purposes of obtaining payments in addition to those provided under the agreement. The only requirement is that they be able to prove their claims in accordance with the procedures and standards promulgated by the tribunal in accordance with the Section 177 Agreement.''
Thus, the RMI and Congress are faced in 1999 with the same questions they faced in 1982. Are the politically determined measures carried out in lieu of a legal process to adjudicate claims arising from the nuclear testing program adequate legally and morally to sustain the political, economic, and social relationship that exists between the U.S. and the Marshall Islands? Will the existing measures sustain the relationship between our peoples in the future, or do additional measures need to be taken as a result of the information and knowledge gained as a result of our experience under the Section 177 Agreement?
Currently, Mr. Hills has a law practice in Washington D.C. that includes representation of the people of Rongelap regarding the program to resettle their islands in the RMI. Rongelap resettlement is not funded or governed under the terms of the Section 177 Agreement.
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. DOOLITTLE. And then finally here the statement of the people of Utirik to the House Resources Committee. So without objection those statements will be admitted into the record.
[The prepared statement of the People of Utirik follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 80 TO 87 HERE
Mr. DOOLITTLE. I also understand that we have a statement submitted by Mr. William Robison, who, I guess, was invited to be present but could not be. Anyway, without objection his statement will be submitted for the record.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Robison follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 88 TO 106 HERE
Mr. DOOLITTLE. We have three witnesses on this panel. The Honorable Oscar deBrum, chairman of the Nuclear Claims Tribunal, Majuro, Marshall Islands; Dr. John Mauro from Sanford Cohen and Associates, McLean, Virginia; and Mr. Allan C. B. Richardson, scientific consultant to the people of Enewetak in Bethesda, Maryland.
Gentlemen, we welcome you and Mr. deBrum, you are recognized for your statement.
STATEMENT OF HON. OSCAR deBRUM, CHAIRMAN, NUCLEAR CLAIMS TRIBUNAL
Mr. OSCAR DEBRUM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and good morning members of the Committee. On behalf of my fellow judges and officers and staff of the Nuclear Claim tribunal, I would like to express our gratitude to you for conducting this oversight hearing on the status of nuclear issues in the Marshall Islands.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am honored to have been asked to testify before this Committee and its predecessor for many years, but I am now among the rapidly dwindling group of men and women whose experience with Americans spans the entirety of our people's association with you.
I was a young man, young boy, 15 years of age, attending Japanese school in Jaluit in 1944 when I beheld the sight which I will never forget as long as I live. The arrival of an enormous fleet of new American warships the size of which I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams.
With the American administration which followed the defeat of the Japanese forces in the Marshall Islands, I quickly came to learn firsthand of the American spirit of generosity and kindness as well as the courage of American servicemen who came from all walks of life, from all parts of your country, great country, to fight the distant war to preserve your democracy and expand your democratic principles to the world.
It has been my profound conviction since your countrymen came to our shore over a century ago that America's intentions are honorable and its motives are noble. But to us, a phrase used frequently in this setting and I quote, ''mistakes were made.'' And as a result of that most notorious law, the law of unintended consequences, our people became the victim of American policies which were meant only to develop a deterrent to and to prevent future wars.
Mr. Chairman, if you were chairing a hearing of our tribunal instead of chairing this hearing today, you would find it as difficult as I do to explain unintended consequences, a policy to a family which has experienced real suffering as a result of those policies. These real human stories are what I am here today and I hear also every day, day after day, as the tribunal is charged with the responsibility of making final determination of Marshallese claims related to the nuclear testing program.
The challenge has been to address these claims in a manner which is both fair to the claimants and rational and justifiable in view of the evidence available. Throughout its existence, the tribunal has sought information and expert advise about the testing program and its effect on human health from a wide variety of sources.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In late 1990 the tribunal became aware of U.S. legislation known as the Downwinders' Act, which had been passed into law by the Congress earlier that year. In that Act the Congress established a program of compensation on a presumptive basis for specified diseases to U.S. civilians who were physically present in any affected area during the period of nuclear testing in Nevada.
The tribunal saw that such a presumptive approach reflected both the needs for an efficient, simple, and cost-effective program and a recognition of the difficulties of individual proof of causation associated with the injuries due to the exposure to ionizing radiation.
Between 1946 and 1958, the United States conducted 67 nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands, all of which were atmospheric. The most powerful of these tests was the BRAVO shot, a 15-megaton device detonated on March 1, 1954, at Bikini atoll. That test alone was the equivalent to 1,000 Hiroshima bombs that ended the second world war.
While the BRAVO shot is well known, 17 other tests in the Marshall Islands were in the megaton range and total yield of which wasof the 67 tests was 108 megatons, the equivalent of more than 7,000 Hiroshima bombs and 93 times the total of Nevada atmospheric tests.
Further, the U.S. Center for Disease Control in July 1998 estimated that 6.3 billion curies of radioactive iodine-131 was released to the atmosphere as a result of the testing in the Marshall Islands. That amount is 42 times the 150 million curies released as a result of the testing in Nevada.
The tribunal's Personal Injury Compensation Program was established by regulation in 1991 and includes the diseases identified in the Downwinders programs and additional diseases for which there was credible evidence from the research findings of the studies of the Japanese atom bomb survivors conducted by the Radiation Effects Research Foundation and from the conclusion contained in the 1990 report of the National Academy of Science Committee on Biological Affects of Ionizing Radiation.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Also pending before the tribunal are many claims for damage to property. A major category of damage in the class-action property claim is for cleanup of these areas. In December, the Decemberthe tribunal issued a written decision in which it adopted the policies and criteria set out by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for dealing with certain sites with radioactive contamination.
In 1997 the EPA directed that if a dose assessment is conducted at the site, then 15 millirems per year effective dose equivalent should generally be the maximum dose limit for humans. To date, no compensation has been awarded for property damage, but the first such award should be made within the next few months.
One of the main issues that I wanted to address in my testimony today is the immediate shortfall of funds for payment of personal injury award. As of April 30, 1999, a total of $67.7 million has been awarded on behalf of 1,613 individuals for personal injuries. This compares to a common total agreementtotal agreementexcuse me, sir1,509 award totaling $75.4 million that had been made under the Downwinders' program.
But the tribunal is now nearly $23 million short of being able to fully compensate all of the justified claims of physical effects of the test. It particularly pains me that our tribunal continues to fall short of its ability to ease our people's suffering from financial compensation because our fund is manifestly inadequate for this purpose because we are obliged to make payment in installments rather than make full payment on award.
Six hundred and thirty two people have already died without receiving full compensation for their personal injuries. The situation makes it necessary to make this appeal to you personally on behalf of the awardees who believe that the best solution is to request a lump sum payment from the U.S. so that the award to the deceased people and others who are suffering from terminal medical conditions may be paid in full quickly as possible.
As detailed in my written submission, the amount clearly needed is approximately $22.9 million. In short, Mr. Chairman, we need your help, and I hope that the Committee will provide guidance in how to formally request for this amount and how we can best pursue it effectively and efficiently.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In conclusion, there was much that was proper and appropriate in the 177 agreement, but time and experience have demonstrated that the funding of the activities and the program specifically provided for in the agreement was inadequate.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman for hearing our testimony. We will be very happy to answer any questions you might have. Thank you, sir.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Thank you, sir.
[The prepared statement of Mr. deBrum follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 107 TO 120 HERE
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Dr. Mauro, you are recognized for your testimony.
Mr. MAURO. I would like to suggest that Mr. Richardson proceed first. The information that he will be covering sort of precurse the information that I will be covering.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. All right. That will be fine. Mr. Richardson, you are recognized, sir
STATEMENT OF ALLAN C.B. RICHARDSON, SCIENTIFIC CONSULTANT TO THE PEOPLE OF ENEWETAK
Mr. RICHARDSON. Thank you, Representative Doolittle and other members of the Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony today. My name is Allan Richardson. I am a consultant to the people of Enewetak and Bikini. I have submitted a written statement for the record. I will just summarize that statement here.
By way of introduction, I would like to point out that I spent almost 30 years at EPA establishing standards for radiation before retiring a little over a year ago, as well as many years as the U.S. representative on various matters to the International Atomic Energy Agency and to the International Commission on Radiation Protection.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This morning I would like to address a narrow topic: what standard should apply to the cleanup of the Marshall Islands, a standard that would define what is needed to adequately protect future health of the Marshallese. This question obviously must be answered before one can address what needs to be done and what the cost will be.
I will address three points: The first is What standard applies to similar cleanups in the United States, a question that Congressman Miller asked earlier. Second, should this same standard apply in the Marshall Islands; and then, third, I will touch briefly on what the key provisions of the recommended standard are.
First, to the question of what standard applies in the United States. The Marshall Islands testing was the final element of a massive U.S. weapons development program, as we all know. Almost all of the rest of that program was conducted at sites in the United States that are now under jurisdicion of the DOE. Those sites provide the appropriate model for similar cleanup situations in the United States because they involve the same kinds of materials, manmade radioactive materials.
This nuclear weapons complex in the United States is now undergoing a massive cleanup. Just to give you some idea of the size of that cleanup, 99 percent of all soil contaminated with manmade radiation in the United States is located on sites that are involved in the U.S. nuclear weapons program.
In my written testimony there is a chart that details radioactively contaminated U.S. sites and associated volumes of soil. By comparison, the amount of contaminated soil in the Marshall Islands is much less than 1 percent of that total amount.
The applicable law for the cleanup of the Department of Energy sites is CERCLA, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, otherwise known as Superfund. It applies to all of the DOE sites involved here. And as you probably know, the exercise of the Superfund authority involves a cooperative relationship between the contaminater, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the State in which the site is located.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC EPA sets the rules, the States are involved in the selection of the remedy, and in this case the Department of Energy is responsible for the cleanup. There have been established, by regulation, general rules for the level of cleanup that is required.
The relevant rule in this case is that the residual risk to the most exposed individuals that are expected to be on the site in the future should be less than 1 in 10,000 over their lifetimes. That standard was set in 1990. It applies to all kinds of hazardous contaminants, not just to radiation.
In 1997, the agency established a standard specific to radiation, based on that general criterion. That standard is the number that you have heard several times today, 15 millirems per year. Clearly, this is the standard that is applied in the United States to situations like that in the Marshall Islands. It applies to well over 99 percent of all such contamination in the United States.
The second question was: Should the U.S. standard apply in the Marshall Islands? The relevant international authority on radiation matters is the International Atomic Energy Agency. It was established in 1957 at the urging of President Eisenhower, and the United States has strongly supported it ever since.
The IAEA enunciated the applicable principle for this case in 1985, many years ago. What they saidand I will quote them hereis that: ''As a basic principle, policies and criteria for radiation protection of populations outside national borders . . . should be at least as stringent as those for the population within the country of release.''
The U.S. has consistently followed this position in the Marshall Islands over the years, although sometimes hesitantly and in a changing way, as standards in the U.S. have evolved.
The U.S. also observes this principle in more general ways. An example is the Basel Convention, which forbids the disposal of domestic toxic and hazardous materials in foreign countries unless the standards of the country of origin are met. There is a similar provision for radioactive waste by the International Atomic Energy Agency that we also espouse.
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCFor this case the important point is that if the Marshall Islands were in the United States, the standard that applies to all of the DOE complex, 99 percent of U.S. manmade contamination, would apply.
I think the conclusion, therefore, is inescapable that, under both international and U.S. precedents and practice, the Marshall Islands are entitled to the same level of protection from the radiation contamination caused by U.S. weapons programs that we provide our own citizens.
The Nuclear Claims Tribunal, as Mr. deBrum just mentioned, came to the same conclusion and adopted the U.S. standard as the basis for adjudicating claims on December 31 of 1998.
Finally, a few brief observations about the standards themselves. The risk under the standard is 1 in 3,000. This risk lies at the extreme upper end of the acceptable risk range under Superfund. The risk of 1 in 3,000 is approximately the risk that you would project for an atoll in the Marshall Islands, because the rough size of the population that you expect to see on a single atoll is about 3,000.
The standard is not without burdens. There is regulatory flexibility in the application of the standard that allows the use of ''institutional controls'' to reduce environmental damage and costsif the affected population agrees to this.
Institutional controls are measures that do not remove the contamination, but instead reduce exposure through methods that require continuing intervention by man. A good example for the Marshall Islands is the proposal to use potassium to suppress the uptake of radioactive cesium in foodstuffs.
The benefit of using this measure is that much less soil needs to be removed and much less environmental damage and cost is incurred. The cost of using the measurethe burdenis the burden of maintenance of the control measures for many, many decades and, of course, the risks that accrue if the control measure fails to be maintained.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That concludes my testimony. I would be pleased to answer any questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Richardson follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 121 TO 126 HERE
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Thank you. Dr. Mauro, you are recognized.
STATEMENT OF DR. JOHN MAURO, SANFORD COHEN AND ASSOCIATES
Dr. MAURO. Thank you for inviting me here today and thank you to the people of Enewetak for asking me to come. I work for Sanford Cohen and Associates. This is a small company in McLean, Virginia, that specializes in risk assessment.
My background is specifically in the area of health, physics, and radioecology. This is the study of radioactivity in the environment and its effects on people. I have been performing analyses of the type that I will be summarizing here for about the past 25 years at hundreds of different sites throughout the United States.
This past September the people of Enewetak retained SC&A to peform an independent evaluation of the radiological conditions on Enewetak atoll, specifically, and to assess what needs to be done to remediate the atoll so that it would comply with the clearance criteria, or the acceptance criteria, for cleanup that was summarized by Mr. Richardson.
We started our investigations in October, and we completed them in April. In April we appeared before the tribunal presenting testimony on our findings. The 12-page summary that I provided you with there summarizes this, but I also have a full copy of our report that I would like to leave with the Committee. It details our findings.
What we basically did was collect all of the data that the Department of Energy has collected since the 1970s, literally tens of thousands of measurements. We did not perform any measurements of our own. We used that data to perform mathematical modeling of if the people of Enewetak were to return to the northern islandsby the way, some of the questions that were raised earlier, as I proceed I would like to respond to some of those questions because I think they are important.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The people of Enewetak are currently living on the southern islands, Enewetak island. But the northern islands such as Enjebi, homeland for many of the Enewetak people, are currently not being occupied because of radiologic concerns.
What we didwhat I did as part of a team of people at SC&A was to gather all of the data and evaluate the radiation doses that might occur to people who would relocate to the northern islands tomorrow and assess what kind of radiation doses they would receive and what needs to be done to correct the problem.
What we found out is that the radiation doses, if the people of Enewetak should return to Enjebi, for example, one of the many islands north, in the year 2000, the doses would be 10 to 100 to 500 times higher than the current radiation protection standards we are using in the United States, an unacceptable situation.
We then proceeded to ask what could be done about that. We evaluated a broad range of alternative remediation strategies. We actually costed out 30 different approaches to remediate the problem. And in doing so, we used five criteria to sort of score or evaluate the merits of all of the alternatives to fix the problem.
First, whatever the remedy, it should allow the people of Enewetak to return to their homes in the northern islands as soon as possible. If you were to wait for the radioactivity to decay, it turns out the important radionuclide, the cesium 137 with a 30 year half life, it would take over 100 years to decay down to levels that were acceptable.
Second, the cleanup has to be protective. That means achieve the cleanup criteria of 15 millirem per year. Third and very important, whatever strategies that are adopted it minimizes the ecological damage and incorporates measures that restores the ecosystem to a self-sustaining condition.
Fourth, cost effective; and finally, permanent, that is, whatever solution or remedy strategy is selected, it should be a permanent solution. Based on our investigations, we identified a strategy to recommend, and it consists of five elements.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC First, scrape away the soil that is contaminated at the elevated, the higher levels. That represents an area of about 550 acres and 223,000 cubic meters of soil. We considered a lot of different ways of getting rid of that soil, disposing of it as low-level waste, shipping it to the United States and disposing of it in one of the low-level waste facilities. Extremely expensive.
We feel that the most prudent and cost-effective use of that soil is to use it as a causeway, to construct a causeway between Enewetak island and its neighboring Medren island. The reason we believe this to be acceptable is the problem with cesium in the soil on the northern islands is that if plants are grown, coconuts, pandanus and other locally grown foods, it accumulates in the food.
So it is the food pathway that is the problem. If it is used as a fill material for a causeway, that problem goes away. In about 100 years, the radioactivity itself will go away. We feel that is the most cost-effective and productive use of that material.
By the way, that aspect of our analysis is where we differ significantly from DOE. We think a lot more scraping needs to be done to achieve the cleanup criteria. The second thing where we do agree with DOE is that, yes, on areas where the contamination is at a lower level and after you have scraped away the higher levels, the use of potassium to suppress the uptake of cesium in the coconut and pandanus, et cetera, will be very effective in controlling exposures; but under a carefully monitored program, this is a type of institutional control that Mr. Richardson mentioned, the areas that are scraped will need to be rehabilitated and the agriculture properties will have to be restored when you scrape away soil.
There is another element that makes up the program. There is also a special unique problem in one of the northern islands called the Runit island that has an area called the Fig/Quince Area where there are some elevated levels of plutonium.
This is the only area that our review of the data reveals that has a problem in addition to cesium and that requires a special cleanup. That is part of our proposed strategy. Based on that recommendation, we have estimated the cost. Including a 15 percent contingency, the cost of that program, the combination program, would be $115 million. That concludes my statement.
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Mr. Mauro follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 127 TO 138 HERE
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Thank you very much. Mr. deBrum, did I understand you to say that the fund is going to be $23 million short in order to compensate the people the law provides for?
Mr. OSCAR DEBRUM. I think it was $29 million. Yes, sir.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. But there is some discussion now, isn't there, about whether it should bethe law should be changed and applied to anyone affected, not just to people in those four northern atolls? Is that correct?
Mr. OSCAR DEBRUM. Well, yes, Mr. Chairman. We consider that all of the people of the Marshall Islands got affected by the radiation. But those directly affected by the four atollpeopleessentially have been people who are dying without receiving full compensation. This is the reason why we are asking for the additional $29 million so that we
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Just to deal with the ones with the initialthe standard that is in the law now, the four atolls?
Mr. OSCAR DEBRUM. Right.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Just out of curiosity, since you grew up in the Marshall Islands, do you remember seeing any of these experiments?
Mr. OSCAR DEBRUM. What was the question, sir?
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Were you able to visually see any of these bombs exploding?
Mr. OSCAR DEBRUM. From a distance, yes. I was in Kwajalein when BRAVO shot was
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DOOLITTLE. So you could see the
Mr. OSCAR DEBRUM. Oh, yes. No one could have missed it. It turned nightearly morning into daylight. That is how bright it was.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Chairman, do you yield?
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Yes.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I just want to note the gentleman from Hawaii, Mr. Abercrombie, testified earlier in a subcommittee meeting that even those living in Hawaii literally saw the whole sky light just like noonday when one of our nuclear detonations took place in the Marshalls.
So to the extent of he being exposedeven those of us in Samoa also saw this. You are talking about 6,000 or 7,000 miles away from the detonation point. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Remarkable.
Mr. OSCAR DEBRUM. Mr. Chairman, we stand corrected on that. The figure was $22.9 million.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Thank you.
Mr. OSCAR DEBRUM. Thank you.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Are you going to raise during these negotiations with the United States governmentare you going to raise this issue of whether the area deemed to be affected should be broadened from what it presently is in the law?
Mr. OSCAR DEBRUM. Mr. Chairman, I brought an attorney from my office for a question such as this. With your permission, I would like to have his opinion.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Certainly.
Mr. OSCAR DEBRUM. Mr. Jim Plasman.
Mr. PLASMAN. Mr. Chairman, James Plasman. I am also a member of the tribunal.
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DOOLITTLE. You can take a seat right down there at the end, if you would like.
Mr. PLASMAN. To the extent that that question involves negotiations between the U.S. and the government of the Marshall Islands, the tribunal will not be formally involved in that matter; and I think that question you should probably be addressing to the government itself.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Well, let us see. I think that the panel has passed us by already. We will submit it in writing. How is that? I would be interested in the opinion.
There is still a lot of cleanup left to do. Do we sprinkle potassium on places in Nevada and Utah to be able to grow food, or is that something that we just do in the Marshall Islands?
Dr. MAURO. There is no plan to occupy the contaminated areas at the Nevada test sites. However, the use of potassium has been demonstrated to be effective. If, in fact, you plan to grow material in soil that contains slightly elevated levels of cesium, it will get the levels down in the plants that grow there. The work that we performed, it is safe and effective to the limited extent that it can achieve what you are trying to achieve.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. I have heard about the deaths from cancer. Is there any problem with passing on the problems to the babies that are born, or is it just pretty much limited to cancer and those kinds of things to the affected individuals?
Dr. MAURO. What we did in terms of looking at this problem was, in addition to calculating the radiation dose that would occur to people if they were to return without any additional remediation, we also estimated the collective health impact on the population that would live there in the future for the next several hundred years would also bear a potential health burden of adverse health effects which includes primarily cancer but also some genetic effects.
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We estimated that the collective health burden on the population would probably be about 10 additional serious illnesses, including cancer and birth defects if there is no additional cleanup.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. I realize my time is up. Indulge me in one further question here. I guess Nevada and the Marshall Islands and the only other place that these weapons have actually been used is in Japan; is that right?
Dr. MAURO. I believe so.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. What does the data show about there in Hiroshima and Nagasaki where similar weapons were used? Do they continue to have problems until this day?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Practically all of our risk estimates for radiation damage are based on the follow-up of the people that were exposed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That is the world's largest and most long-continuing epidemiological study.
It still continues today and involves many hundreds of thousands of people. It provides one of the best-documented bases for risk estimates of a carcinogen that we havethe most recent review by the National Academy of Sciences of the risks that were demonstrated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki places a factor of only two or threeuncertainty at the 95 confidence level. These are the risk estimates generally used in radiation protection today.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Actually, there are more places. The French have done some testing and the Soviet Union. I guess there are others, aren't there?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Yes, but there are not good records on the exposures in most of those places.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Okay. Thank you. Mr. Faleomavaega is recognized.
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. deBrum, I just wanted to follow up on your statement. You mentioned in reference that Congress enacted the Downwinders' Act of 1990. And the fact that those who were affected during the Nevada testing program that the totalyou are talking about kiloton or megaton levels was about 1.16 megatons, compared to what the Marshallese were exposed to is 93 megatons.
I didn't get the gist of your statement, Mr. deBrum, how much compensation that Congress gave to those that were exposed to the Nevada test sites. What was the total appropriation? Was thatwell, anyway, we will get that for the record, as my time is running out.
You also indicated, Mr. deBrum, that on a comparative basis, those who were exposed to iodine-131 in measurement in curies, the Marshalls, 6.36 billion curies; the Nevada test site 153 million curies; Chernoble disaster was 40 million curies; and the Hanford operation was only 739,000 curies.
Dr. Richardson, can you explain what this iodine-131 does to human beings in a comparative analysis made of Mr. deBrum's statement?
Mr. RICHARDSON. The effect of iodine exposure is thyroid cancer as well as thyroid nodules. The current estimates on the rate of lethality for thyroid cancer, in portions of the world where there is good hospital care immediately available, easily available, is about one tenth. In areas where good medical care is not nearly as well available, the prognosis is not so good.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Dr. Richardson, I had raised an earlier question with Secretary Seligman, and I am still not satisfied with his response. If I were a nuclear victim being duly exposed seriously to nuclear contamination as a Marshallese citizen would be and if I wanted to get the best medical advice for examination, where would I go today?
Mr. RICHARDSON. I would hesitate to answer that question. There are many experts in this country. It would depend on the type of radiation damage or sickness or cancer that was involved.
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Let us say iodine-131 exposure.
Mr. RICHARDSON. The interesting thing about cancer that is caused by radiation is that it is no different from cancers that are caused by other agents. It is cancer. And so the best places to go if you have radiogenic cancer are places that are well known generally for cancer treatment in this country. There is no special place to go for a radiation-induced cancer.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. So cancer I get from nuclear detonation is no different than the cancer that I get from other sources?
Mr. RICHARDSON. That is correct.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. What about if the frequency of the cancer happens to be from nuclear contamination?
Mr. RICHARDSON. I am not sure I follow the question.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Let us say that the whole community in Rongelap were exposed seriously to nuclear contamination and that the frequency of thyroid gland cancer, leukemia and all of these things simply because they have more direct exposure than any other people, if I really wanted to seriously take care of these people as best canthis is why I get very upset because I didn't get the answer. I didn't get the answer. Where would I go today?
The reason I raise Japan was they seem to be the only ones that are very serious about taking care of the human beings that were subjected to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Mr. RICHARDSON. What I would suggest is a very careful monitoring program be established in the population for early detection of any possible cancer which should then be treated in the normal way.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Which we didn't do a very good job. Would you agree or disagree?
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. RICHARDSON. I would agree.
Mr. MAURO. I want to put a pitch in for New York University Medical Center where I received my doctorate. They had an extensive program and had the world's best epidemiologist and radiobiologist. That is where I would go.
If I received an elevated dose of radiation, I would go to NYU Medical center, and I would consult with Dr. Arthur Upton and Dr. Roy Shore. And Dr. Roy Shore deals with epidemiological issues, and Dr. Upton deals with medical issues.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Dr. Mauro, the problem we havewe had a hearing in 1994. We had nuclear scientists disagree even among themselves, one holding up the facts and information simply because he wasn't going to get paid. That to me is just absurd, and I just could not believe that this happens. Mr. Chairman, I would really like some more time.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Go ahead and take it.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Dr. Richardson, I am glad you mentioned the fact that you were formerly involved with the international agencyis it the IAEA?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Yes, the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. You were directly involved with that agency?
Mr. RICHARDSON. I served on a series of consultant groups that wrote many of their safety standards.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I am totally confused at this point in time, Dr. Richardson, in terms of the standards that we apply for those who are exposed to nuclear contamination. You seem to suggest here that EPA has a different standard from DOE as far as U.S. standards are concerned?
Mr. RICHARDSON. DOE doesn't actually have a standard that applies to CERCLA sites. DOE cites other authorities' standards. The standard that is applied in the United Statesin the vast majority of casesis the standard that I mentioned, the 15 millirems per year.
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. You mentioned also that we should apply the international standard to the Marshallese?
Mr. RICHARDSON. No. What I said was that when you ask the question what standard should apply to the Marshallese, given that 15 millirems applies in the United States, the IAEA has provided the answer in the form of a principle which says that when a country exposes foreign nationals, it should apply to that situation the same standard that it would apply to its own people.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Unbeknown to many Americans, the French Government conducted over 200 nuclear tests in the South Pacific in French Polynesia. You know what happened when Chirac broke the moratorium and continued the testing.
Now, after all of these years of concerns, they literally made Swiss cheese out of this one atoll that they kept putting 3,000 meters in depth of these nuclear detonation devices. Now the latest admission by the French Government just came out this week, I believe, that there begins now to be cracks or fissures within this atoll where these nuclear explosions took place.
Do you have an opinion in terms of what might be happening if this fissure, or these cracks, of these 200 nuclear bombs that were exploded in this atoll, what might happen to the environment of the Pacific region?
Mr. RICHARDSON. That is really not a question that I am prepared to answer. That is a question for a geologist or an oceanographer.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Well, let us say that if you were a closer advisor to the IAEA, what would be your recommendation for IAEA to do at this point in time because of this admission?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Quite frankly, I am not sure the IAEA would have any idea of what to do.
Page 121 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Dr. Richardson. My question this time is for Dr. Mauro. You mentioned that you made a study of Enewetak. Is this strictly an environmental study, or did you also do anything in terms of the people?
Of the 67 nuclear bombs that we exploded in the Marshalls, 44 were conducted in Enewetak. Are you aware of that, Dr. Mauro?
Dr. MAURO. Yes, I am.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. How many people were exposed to this?
Dr. MAURO. I didn't look into that. To answer your question, strictly environmental, our mandate was very narrow: collect the data, characterize the radiological conditions, and evaluate what the radiation doses and health risks would be if people were to return to those islands and what are some plausible ways of remediating that problem. No, I could not answer your question.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Your recommendation as a result of this study that you conducted from October to April?
Dr. MAURO. My recommendation is what I call a combined approach where you scrape away the contaminated soil that is above a given level, specifically 1.7 pico curies per gram and areas where the contamination that is remaining is above .37 pico curies per gram use potassium.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Your company doesn't do anything about conducting feasibility studies of nuclear storage programs, do you?
Dr. MAURO. No. Most of our work we do for EPA and the organizations that regulate to the Department of Energy, as opposed to the Department of Energy.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. We did a nuclear storage thing in the Marshalls in this one atoll. Forgive me, Mr. deBrum. What was the name of the atoll?
Page 122 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. OSCAR DEBRUM. Runit.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. About the size of three football fields. It is my understanding now there begins to be leakages underneath this beautiful storage facility that we provided.
Dr. MAURO. Yes, I am familiar with that.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Do you think your company might be contracted to go down there to find out if this thing is leaking?
Dr. MAURO. There is no doubt that it is leaking. The question is is it substantially changing the inventory of radioactivity that is already in the sediments in the lagoon? We reviewed a lot of work that was done on that subject to see if, in fact, that could result in a significant public health issue.
Part of our recommendation is that from the data that we looked at it appears that, yes, there is a very good likelihood that the material that is contained in the dome is continuing to leach and find its way into the lagoon.
However, the additional curies that would be added is small compared to the curies that are there already. Based on the data that we are looking at, it appears that the fish are not accumulating the radioactivity. For all intents and purposes, the fish that have been sampled in the lagoon and in the nearby ocean contain levels of radionuclide that are well below the criteria.
So on that basis, we consider the limiting pathway by far is cesium 137 in the soil and not the marine environment. Nevertheless, part of our recommendation is to include a comprehensive environmental measurements program around the Runit dome to confirm these findings.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I don't know, Dr. Mauro, if you are aware that that sigitary poisoning, which is a very deadly toxin as it comes out of the reefs in the Pacific not only in the areas where these nuclear tests were conducted in French Polynesia, but this same level of toxin, sigitary poisoning, is also true in the Marshalls. Are you aware of that?
Page 123 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. MAURO. No, I am not.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Chairman, I submit thatall I can say, Mr. Chairman, is the Marshallese people are good people. They are not here for handouts. They are just simply asking us, as they have been trying for how many years now, Mr. Chairman, for our government to meet and to measure up to what we have committed honorably to do for these people, and we have failed miserably.
I sincerely hope, Mr. Chairman, that in the course of the coming months that we will give the Marshallese people their due. They are not asking for handouts. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I want to thank the members of the panel.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Thank you. I too thank the members of the panel. I would ask you to respond expeditiously to any supplementary questions that we may tender to you. With that, we will excuse the members of this panel and the hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 2 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]
[Additional material submitted for the record follows.]
STATEMENT OF SENATOR HENCHI BALOS, BIKINI ATOLL REPRESENTATIVE, MARSHALL ISLANDS NITIJELA
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. With me are Mayor Tomaki Juda, Speaker Kessai Note, Councilman Lucky Juda, Council advisor Johnny Johnson, Trust Liaison Jack Niedenthal and legal counsel Jonathan Weisgall
As you know, the U.S. Government moved us off our atoll in 1946 and conducted 23 atomic and hydrogen bomb tests there over the next 12 years, including the largest bomb tests in U.S. history. Meanwhile, our people were moved first to Rongerik Atoll, where we nearly starved to death, then briefly to Kwajalein, and then finally to Kili in 1948.
Sadly, Kili remains home to most Bikinians more than 53 years after the testing began, and life there remains difficult. Kili is a single island. It has no lagoon. Bikini, with its 23 islands and 243-square mile lagoon, is thousands of times bigger. Kili has no sheltered fishing grounds, so the skills we developed for lagoon and ocean life are useless on Kili. This drastic change from life centered around fishing and canoeing to life on an isolated island with no fishing area continues to take a severe toll on our people.
Page 124 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me briefly review the issues facing our people today:
Radiological cleanup: We are using a Nuclear Claims Tribunal proceeding to get an accurate cost estimate for the radiological cleanup and resettlement of Bikini. We do not yet know the exact price tag, but it will greatly exceed the money in the Bikinians' Resettlement Trust Fund.
You will be hearing today from the other atolls about the huge costs of the legacy of the U.S. nuclear testing program in the Marshall Islands, ranging from health care costs to property damages. These costs add up. In considering whetherand howto pay for them, I would like to make three points. First, the money appropriated by Congress for Bikini cleanup took into account only the cleanup of Bikini and Eneu, just two of Bikini Atoll's 23 islands. Second, permit me to quote Representative John Seiberling of Ohio, a former member of this Committee, who in 1984 said that ''there will be a question as to whether we should go as far as some of us think we need to go, including the restoration of Bikini.'' His answer: ''I would only say that the costs of this program are a tiny fraction of the costs of that nuclear testing program.''
Third, I believe that the additional funding needed to complete the cleanup of Bikini should come not from the Interior Department budget, but rather from the budget of the Department of Energy's Environmental Management, which is earmarked for cleanups in 23 states that were involved in the U.S. nuclear weapons testing program. That program is estimated to cost $147 billion, and for the last three years Congress has appropriated an average of $5.75 billion for the program, This is where the cleanup costs for Bikini should come from. And while the $90 million already appropriated sounds like a lot of money, more than double that will be needed to complete the job. But let me remind you that the U.S. Government has spent more than $10 billionbillionat just one U.S. nuclear weapons siteHanfordwithout removing any contaminated soil.
Page 125 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Worker safety: As the cleanup of Bikini occurs, we have asked our experts to design a radiation protection plan that is at least as low as occupational radiation exposure limits. The cost estimates for Bikini cleanup will include a separate number for worker radiation safety.
Guarantee of Bikini Atoll's safety: In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson, relying on a report from the Atomic Energy Commission, announced that Bikini Atoll was safe and that our people could return home. That report proved to be wrong. Thirty years later, scientists from around the world, including the United States, are telling our people once again that it is safe to go back home under certain circumstances. The Bikini people, for reasons I am sure you can understand, do not trust U.S. Government scientists, and there is no one in our community with the expertise to tell us whether or not Bikini can be safely resettled. lf we return home we want the U.S. Government to guarantee Bikini's safety.
When our leaders raised this issue last year with Secretary Babbitt, he said the decision was up to us, not the United States, and he urged them to turn to our own experts for advice. He also said that a written guarantee went against the spirit of trust that is assumed by the Compact. Our response is the same as President Reagan's to the Russians in the 1980s: Trust, but verify. We still want a guarantee of Bikini's safety if we return home.
Health care: The 177 health care program, which is supported by a $2 million annual grant under the Section 177 agreement has proven to be inadequate, due in large part to the huge and unexpected enrollment of individuals in the four-attol health care program. For example, in just 13 years, from 1983 to 19996, the number of people in the program rose from 2,300 to nearly 11,500. Moreover, this funding has not been adjusted for inflation, so the value of the $2 million annual payment, which began in 1988, is now less than half that.
As a result of the failure of this program, the Bikini community has been forced to spend more and more of its resources on health care. Health care costs have, risen from $350,000 in 1994 to $850,000 for this fiscal year. After Bikini cleanup, it's the largest expenditure in the Resettlement Trust Fund.
Page 126 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC U.S.D.A. food: We thank the Congress for extending the U.S.D.A. food program for another five years. This program will be needed for Bikini people until we are living safely at Bikini Atoll, its soil has been restored and the people are able to eat safely a local diet. We urge that this be included in the extension of the Compact, but without a five-year limitation and with directions to reflect the changes in the population.
Continuation of the Compact of Free Association: Although this is a government-to-government question, I want to remind you that the radiation at Bikini will last well after 2001. The United States has a legal responsibility and moral obligation to assist the people of Bikini until they are living safely back on all their islands. That responsibility should not be shifted, to the Government of the Marshall Islands. It did not create the nuclear problem and it lacks the resources and expertise to care for our needs. We hope this Committee will echo the words of Interior Secretary Babbitt, who told us just one year ago that ''the United States won't walk away from you or from this obligation, I feel very deeply that we have a moral commitment to you.''
Changed circumstances: This hearing may not be the place to debate this issue, but let me leave you with one black and white example. For years we thought the only islands at Bikini that were vaporized were the ones near the 1954 Bravo shot. We now know from a 1968 AEC document that the area of one island in the Aerokoj-Eneman group was reduced from 67.1 acres to 25 acres. Forty-two acres were vaporized, nearly two-thirds of the entire island. The destruction to this island was more than twice as much as the destruction caused by the Bravo shot, but this document was not made public until last year. If it been made public during the original Compact negotiations, it would have had an impact on those negotiations.
3 percent Distribution From Resettlement Trust Fund: Lastly, we seek your support for a 3 percent distribution from the Resettlement Trust Fund. Congress appropriated funds in 1982 and then again in 1988 to establish this trust fund, which is used both for the cleanup of Bikini and for the ongoing needs of the Bikini people. Thanks to our excellent money managers and our voluntary restraint on the use of these funds, the corpus is still there and the fund has grown by almost 14 percent annually. While the income is not enough for our needs, I am proud to report that for 17 years, every dollar has been accounted for, annual audits are prepared, and monthly financial statements are sent to the Interior Department.
Page 127 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We now know that the cost of cleaning up Bikini will greatly exceed the amount of money in the trust. As a result, it is certain that many Bikini elders, who have not been back on their home islands for more than 53 years, will probably die on Kili without returning home. In light of the strength of the trust and regular audits, the lengthy time a cleanup and restoration will take, and the special circumstances of the elders, we urge you to support a one-time 3 percent distribution from this trust fund, It will not require an appropriation of funds by Congress and it will not diminish the original corpus of the trust.
Thank you. I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 139 TO 156 HERE