Feds Tried to Cut Aid

Feds Tried to Cut Aid

from Rocky Mountain News.com

Limits sought on help for ill workers

March 10, 2007

Federal officials secretly schemed to limit payouts for sick and dying nuclear weapons workers, including thousands from the Rocky Flats plant outside Denver, newly released documents show.The officials responsible for helping those workers went behind their boss’s back, called on White House officials for help and tried to hide their efforts, according to internal e-mails and memos obtained by a congressional committee and posted on its Web site.

They also wanted to get the White House to override scientific decisions granting compensation and pack the program’s advisory board with members less sympathetic to workers.

Labor officials say the plans were never carried out, and they deny trying to hide them.

The U.S. Department of Labor oversees the program to compensate workers whose illnesses can be tied to working with radioactive and other toxic materials at nuclear weapons plants, such as the now-defunct Rocky Flats.

More than 60,000 ill atomic bomb makers, including thousands from Rocky Flats, have sought help. About 16,000 workers nationwide have received a total of $2.6 billion. Far more have been denied or still are waiting for help.

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