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Idaho Senator Tries Again for Downwinders' Medical Help

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo refuses to give up in his quest to get restitution for Idahoans who suffered from wind-blown radiation in the cold-war days of the 1950s and '60s - so-called "downwinders." Crapo has tried seven times to expand the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act which now limits help for cancer victims to just a few counties in Utah, Colorado and Arizona. Seven times, his bills have died in congressional black holes.

But he's reviving his bill an eighth time - this time with bi-partisan help from three western state Democratic senators and his Idaho colleague, Jim Risch.

The federal radiation compensation act was meant to help people directly affected by above ground nuclear testing or their work in uranium mines.

But Crapo has insisted for years that prevailing southwesterly winds carried the fallout hundreds of miles further into Utah, Colorado and Idaho, thereby sickening people who were not initially, directly and closely exposed to the danger.

Crapo's bill is based on a 2005 report from the National Academy of Sciences which called on Congress to expand medical compensation under the act.

He believes his new bill stands a better chance of approval now that both house of congress are controlled by fellow GOP lawmakers.

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