Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Amendment to Defense Bill Assesses Nuclear Waste Concerns at Runit Dome

June 13, 2019
Press Release
Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) successfully included an amendment in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which was passed by the House Armed Services Committee today, that would require the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Defense to provide an unclassified public report on the current state of the Runit Dome nuclear waste facility.
“The Runit Dome, locally called The Tomb, contains 111,000 cubic yards of radioactive nuclear waste created by U.S. nuclear testing during the Cold War. The Marshallese people are gravely concerned about environmental threats to the integrity of the storage site and the impact on their country,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “The U.S. government is responsible for this storage site and must ensure the protection of the people and our environment from the toxic waste stored there.”
Background: Runit Dome is a containment facility housing 111,000 cubic yards of radioactive debris created as a consequence of U.S. nuclear testing in the Pacific region in the 1940s and 1950s during the Cold War with fallout from these tests addressed in the late-1970s. The report would assess the current condition of the dome’s outer construct, it's environmental impacts, and safety of food sources and people residing in the vicinity of Runit Dome.
In addition to the NDAA amendment, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is an original cosponsor of H.R. 1377, the Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act which would provide for the treatment of veterans who participated in the cleanup of Enewetak Atoll as radiation exposed veterans for purposes of the presumption of service-connection of certain disabilities by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Current law only covers servicemembers who participated in active nuclear tests, not those who participated in the cleanup.
About Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is serving her fourth term in the United States House representing Hawaii’s Second District, and serves on the House Armed Services and Financial Services Committees. She previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Homeland Security Committee. She was elected to the Honolulu City Council in 2010, and prior to that at age 21, was elected to the Hawaiʻi State Legislature in 2002, becoming the youngest person ever elected in the state. Tulsi Gabbard has served in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard for 16 years, is a veteran of two Middle East deployments, and continues to serve as a Major. Learn more about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard...
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