Indianapolis, Ind. – U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar, calling on him to begin implementing a Trevor’s Law provision requiring an update to the guidelines for investigations of potential cancer clusters. A bipartisan provision Donnelly authored, which provided $1 million for the resources necessary to update the guidelines, was recently signed into law by President Trump. Donnelly also requested that HHS work closely with families and communities in impacted areas to improve the process.
Donnelly said, in part, in his letter to Secretary Azar, “Updating the guidelines for government agency collaboration in these difficult scenarios is an opportunity to ensure that the residents of a potentially affected area experience an open and transparent process. I ask that HHS begin updating these guidelines as soon as possible and that residents in impacted areas have a meaningful opportunity to participate in the process.”
Donnelly’s bipartisan provision, which was added as an amendment with Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) to the recent government funding bill, was the latest in Donnelly’s ongoing effort to press the Administration to fully implement Trevor’s Law and provide communities, including Franklin in Johnson County, with assistance in the investigation of potential cancer clusters. The funding provides an opportunity to improve the federal government’s coordination with state and local governments and the public during an investigation of a potential cancer cluster.
In August, Donnelly spoke on the Senate floor about the importance of supporting efforts to make sure Hoosiers have confidence their communities are safe. He has also met with mothers from Franklin, as well as with Franklin Mayor Steve Barnett to discuss concerns on possible elevated levels of toxic chemicals surrounding the Amphenol Corporation and Webb Wellfield sites.
In July, Donnelly urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to take any actions needed to protect Hoosiers following the indication of possible elevated levels of toxic chemicals surrounding those sites.
To read Donnelly’s letter to Secretary Azar, see below or click here.
October 11, 2018
The Honorable Alex Azar
Department of Health and Human Services
Dear Secretary Azar:
As you are aware, the Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019 and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2019 (P.L. 115-245) contained the funding necessary for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to implement the Trevor’s Law provisions requiring an update to the guidelines for investigations into potential cancer clusters. I urge you to begin this process in a timely manner and to work closely with the families and communities who will have the best insights into how to improve this process.
Families and communities who are dealing with the potential health impacts of exposure to hazardous contamination need to have full confidence in the ability of their federal, state, and local governments to give them the information they need to make the best decisions regarding their safety. Updating the guidelines for government agency collaboration in these difficult scenarios is an opportunity to ensure that the residents of a potentially affected area experience an open and transparent process. I ask that HHS begin updating these guidelines as soon as possible and that residents in impacted areas have a meaningful opportunity to participate in the process.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
United States Senator