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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release November 17, 1999


I welcome the submission today of legislation that begins the process of addressing the health consequences facing workers at various facilities related to work vital to our national defense.

The workers who would benefit from this legislation contracted illnesses after being exposed to potentially hazardous materials when they worked to defend our nation. They deserve the assistance of a grateful nation.

I am particularly pleased that the legislation covers in a pilot project workers from Oak Ridge who have participated in preliminary studies of the risks of occupational illness. By their participation in these health studies, these workers have helped to make workplaces safer for their fellow workers and advanced the cause of just compensation for all who contracted illness by virtue of working on behalf of our Nation.

I am also pleased that the Administration is continuing its commitment to carefully examine the health situation of other workers at other facilities, including Portsmouth, Ohio to determine how best to respond to their needs.