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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 7, 2000


Today, I am pleased to sign an Executive Order that will help implement the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Act of 2000, which authorized compensation for thousands of Department of Energy workers who sacrificed their health in building the nation's nuclear defenses. These individuals, many of whom were neither protected from nor informed of the hazards to which they were exposed, developed occupational illnesses as a result of their exposure to radiation and other hazards unique to nuclear weapons production and testing.

This order builds on the Administration's previously articulated principles and the framework established in the Act to ensure the compassionate, fair, and timely compensation of these workers and their families. Specifically, the order defines the respective responsibilities of the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Energy, and Justice; establishes an Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health; and creates an interagency group to develop a legislative proposal and address program implementation issues.

While the nation can never fully repay these workers or their families, they deserve fair compensation for their sacrifices. I am pleased to take the next critical step in ensuring that these courageous individuals receive the compensation and recognition they have long deserved.