ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium has been waging a yearslong battle to see that victims of the first atomic bomb blast receive compensation for the illnesses and suffering it believes were caused by the fallout from the explosion.
Group members would like to see the downwinders of the Trinity test on July 16, 1945, on what is now White Sands Missile Range in eastern Socorro County, included in the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, or RECA, which compensates residents of Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Colorado who were exposed to radiation from the Nevada Nuclear Test Site. Legislation to do just that has been sponsored through the years by Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, as well as Rep. Ben Ray Luján, who introduced a bill this year on the anniversary of the Trinity test in July. The legislation would cover victims in New Mexico and Indian Country, including the post-1971 uranium workers and the Tularosa downwinders.