(Mr. HIGGINS asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute.)
Mr. Speaker, the Bethlehem Steel plant in Lackawanna, New York, was once the center of western New York's industrial sector, employing thousands of people. Tragically, these workers were unknowingly exposed to residual toxic uranium dust and high levels of radiation, leaving many suffering from cancer and other health problems. Thanks to the efforts of the employees' families, Congress established a program to compensate former Bethlehem Steel employees for their illnesses. However, this process is a difficult one to navigate.
I am proud to have worked with the individual families and help countless of them receive the compensation they are owed. But, Mr. Speaker, there's still more to be done. There are families who deserve to be compensated for their suffering. And that's why I, along with New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, are calling on the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health to expand the eligibility period.
Mr. Speaker, western New Yorkers have long been recognized as some of the most dedicated in this country. I will not rest until those who worked so hard for Bethlehem Steel are compensated for the undeserved suffering.
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Congratulations To The Mayor, The Common Council And The Residents Of The City Of Lackawanna On The Occasion Of The 100Th Anniversary Of Their Municipal IncorporationMay 21, 2009
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