Skip to Content
Get Email Updates:

Caring for Former Rocky Flats Workers

Get Email Updates on this Issue
Photo

Senator Mark Udall poses for a photo with advocates for Rocky Flats workers who, like veterans of "hot" wars, sacrificed for our freedom during the Cold War. Many of these workers were exposed to dangerous substances on the job – often without their knowledge. View more photos on Flickr

In the decades following World War II, hundreds of thousands of Americans went to work to help build our nation's nuclear arsenal. It was their dedication and service that made it possible for us to win the Cold War. And like veterans of "hot" wars, they sacrificed for our freedom. Many of these workers were exposed to dangerous substances on the job – often without their knowledge. Among them were thousands of Coloradans who worked at the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site, many of whom now suffer from beryllium disease, cancer and other serious illnesses.

The government has recognized that these workers deserve to be compensated for their sacrifice. In 2000, Congress passed the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) which set up a program to compensate sick nuclear weapons workers and certain survivors. Unfortunately, the program is not working the way it was intended. While many people have received benefits, too many have faced incredible obstacles as they try to demonstrate that they qualify. More than a decade after enactment, many workers have died without receiving the health care or compensation they deserve. Others are still struggling with bureaucratic delays, years after they first applied for benefits.

Among those workers was Charlie Wolf, an engineer who worked at a number of nuclear weapons facilities, including Rocky Flats. Charlie battled brain cancer for more than six years. All that time, he struggled with the federal government for the compensation he deserved. Charlie died in 2009, but he remains an inspiration to me and his case remains an example of what’s wrong with the EEOICPA program.

What's most unfortunate is that Charlie's situation is not an isolated occurrence. Too many former workers like him have been subjected to repeated delays, lost records, complex exposure formulas and other roadblocks as they applied for benefits under the EEOICPA program. It is unacceptable that these workers – who sacrificed for our freedom – have to fight their government to get compensation for illnesses they developed on the job.

That’s why I have introduced legislation to help ensure our nation’s nuclear workers are properly being cared for. I'm also working with my colleagues in Congress as well as the Obama Administration to try to improve the health and compensation system for affected workers. I'll keep fighting until these workers get the care and compensation that their service requires.

  • Ensuring Rocky Flats workers’ claims are evaluated fairly

    In March 2010, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report entitled Energy Employees Compensation: Additional Independent Oversight and Transparency Would Improve Program's Credibility. I introduced legislation (S.545) that draws from the GAO report's recommendation to require the president to establish an independent advisory panel comprised of members representing the scientific, medical, legal, workers, and worker advocate communities to help ensure our nation's nuclear workers are properly cared for. The board would review and report on the scientific soundness of the Department of Labor's health-related services for such workers, including eligibility based on the site-exposure matrix, guidance provided to claims examiners on medical evidence, and probability of causation standards for radiation-related cancers, as outlined in GAO's recommendation. I'll continue fighting to get the rightful compensation for the thousands of Coloradans who were exposed to dangerous substances while building our nation's nuclear arsenal to win the Cold War.

  • Charlie Wolf Nuclear Workers Compensation Act

    I Introduced the Charlie Wolf Nuclear Workers Compensation Act to improve a program designed to compensate workers who became ill because of their work at Rocky Flats and other nuclear weapons sites. Named for Charlie Wolf, a former Rocky Flats employee who developed brain cancer related to his work at the site, the bill would make important changes to reduce the bureaucracy in the program and expand the list of cancers for which individuals are eligible to receive compensation.

 
Regional Offices

Northwest Region
P.O. Box 866
Clark, CO 80428
P: 303-650-7820

Northeast Region
801 8th Street
Suite 140A
Greeley, CO 80631
P: 970-356-5586

Driving Directions

West Slope Region
400 Rood Avenue
Suite 220
Grand Junction, CO 81501
P: 970-245-9553

Driving Directions

Denver Metro Area Region
999 18th Street
Suite 1525, North Tower
Denver, CO 80202
P: 303-650-7820

Driving Directions

Southern Colorado Region
107 West B Street
Pueblo, CO 81003
P: 719-542-1701

Driving Directions

Four Corners Region
954 East 2nd Avenue
Suite 106
Durango, CO 81301
P: 970-247-1047

Driving Directions

Pikes Peak Region
2880 International Circle
Suite 107
Colorado Springs, CO 80910
P: 719-471-3993

Driving Directions

San Luis Valley Region Office
609 Main Street
Suite 205
Alamosa, CO 81101
P: 719-589-2101

Regional Information

Click a region on the map to view office information.