IOWA ARMY AMMUNITIONS PLANT
August 3, 2012
My name is Jo Anne (Jody) Bresch, and I am a former Iowa Army Ammunitions Plant Employee who was employed in the nuclear weapons industry. The plant is located in Middletown, Iowa and was and still is a manufacturer of nuclear weapons. I was employed at the plant and lived adjacent to it in Middletown, Iowa from August 1969 until December 1973. I learned about the University of Iowa Former Worker’s Program from the staff of Dr. Laurence Fuortes in 2002 and have been politically active on behalf of the former workers since the winter of 2005 when I learned my grandson had an inoperable brain tumor. Since that time I have been diagnosed with, and treated for, state 3 colon cancer.
For the last nine months I have been working on collecting a body of evidence to file a Petition with the Department of Health and Human Services to expand the EEOICPA Cohort for the Iowa Army Ammunitions Plant in Middletown, Iowa. Yesterday I submitted a copy of that Petition to the Honorable Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathryn Sibelius.
DOL and NIOSH have set a very low bar for payment of claims based on Line 1 security clearances. The purpose of this Petition is to request that the EEOICPA be expanded to cover workers at the Iowa Army Ammunitions Plant in Middletown, Iowa not currently being found in favor of by DOL decisions.
A copy of a 1963 contract between the Atomic Energy Commission and the Army came into my possession in October of 2012 that I believe explains why both Division A and Division B should be covered by the EEOICPA.
The contract explains the use of the term, ‘joint-use-facility, assigned to the two work forces employed at the facility, and why they were actually one work force to support the work of the Atomic Energy Commission in the cold war efforts, and it goes on to explain that the two contracts were primarily for ‘administrative and control purposes,’ because in fact the contractor will utilize the same work for much of the performance under both contracts. It is agreed that the performance of work will be in accordance with the terms of the contract under which the work is required, irrespective of what contractor personnel are involved.
It was the same work force, doing the same work, being exposed to the same contaminants.
So this is not literally, scientifically, evidentially, morally, or ethically about what we, as former workers, were exposed to. This has turned into legal haggling over the wording of the contracts formers workers were employed under. Carolyn Anderson, Legal Representation for the Department of Labor, told me, if we had a contract with AEC we would be covered. If we had a contract with the Army, we would not. I maintain that the lines from this contract, “the contractor will utilize the same work force for much of the performance under both contracts’ clearly designates that we were one work force, employed for the purpose of supporting the Atomic Energy Commission in Line 1 production work.
The contamination at the plant is a matter of public record. The clean-up is now scheduled to continue through 2041. The problem is two work forces were employed shoulder to shoulder at the plant to do the same job. However, Div. B. is eligible for the EEOICPA while Div. A is not. I’m satisfied, however, there can be a positive outcome for this problem.
Jo Anne (Jody) Bresch
Thursday, January 27, 2011
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500
U.S. Department of Defense
Washington DC 20301
Secretary of the Army
101 Army Pentagon
Washington DC 20310-0101
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20585
Pantex Site Office
PO Box 30030 Amarillo, TX 79120
Dear President Barack Obama:
By way of introduction, I am a former worker of the Iowa Army Ammunitions Plant in Middletown, Iowa. Since 2005 when I discovered my grandson had an inoperable brain tumor, I have been an active advocate for the former workers as they’ve filed claims as provided by the Energy Employees Occupation Illness Compensation Program Act, EEOICP. According to compensation payment totals dated 01/05/2011, 5,750 claims have been filed which represent 3,329 cases. Of those claims filed only 1,767 have actually been paid. There are a variety of reasons that DOL cites for not paying the others.
Congress determined IAAP was entitled to compensation, and they gave the U.S. Department of Labor authority to decide these claims. The U.S. Department of Labor, DOL, bases their decisions on claims from the following criteria:
Upon review of the material presented in the SEC designation and other documentation, the DEEOIC determined that the portion of the Iowa Ordnance Plant considered a Department of Energy facility includes the following:
• The building and property/grounds of the Iowa Ordnance Plant that is identified as “Line 1”
• Yard C
• Yard G
• Yard L
• Firing Site Area
• Burning Field “B”
• Storage Sites for Pits and Weapons – including Buildings 73 & 77
By limiting their pay-outs to these plant areas, former workers had to be employed by the Atomic Energy Commission with a Line 1 Classification to be eligible for compensation.
DOL claims those are the only people the EEOICP ACT authorizes them to approve for a settlement. However, I have discussed this with Congressmen and their representatives who say they did not limit the Act to only Line 1 employees. That it was an administrative decision by DOL. Regardless who had the authority, contamination at IAAP was plant wide and was not limited to Line 1. Enclosed in this document you will find links to public records that substantiate this.
At the beginning of November of 2011 a document came into my hands, a copy of a United States Atomic Energy Commission contract.
AGREEMENT NO. AT (29-2)-151e
Effective October 1, 1963
On Page 5 under references it reads:
Letter, Major General A.W. Betts, U.S. AEC Headquarters, to Lieutenant General Frank S. Benson, U.S. Army Material Command, dated September 27, 1962, subject: AEC Proposal to Place the Operating Contractors for the AEC Work at Iowa and Pantex Ordinance Plants Directly under AEC.
On Page 5 under OPERATING PRINCIPLES it reads, "It is presently contemplated that AL (Albuquerque) and APSSA will separately contract with Mason & Hangar - Silas Mason Company, Inc., for performance of its respective work at the Burlington AEC Plant and IOP. The parties agree that prior to executing any such contract or any modification thereto, other than modifications for funding or the inclusion of mandatory contractural provisions, each party will coordinate the proposed contractural arrangement with the other party.
On Page 6 it reads: HE contamination:
Each of the parties in its respective area of operation generates HE contaminated process water. Each party will take watever action is deemed appropriate to control the degree of contamination and amount of contaminated process water discharged from its respective operation. Both parties recognize that due to past, present and future operations they may be jointly responsible for any contamination of public streams and private wells outside the Burlington AEC Plant and IOP.
In Regard to any liability PSA has full responsitility for resolving any complaints or claims of third parties arising from HE ccontamination. APSA will be reimbursed by AL for that portion of any claims paid or costs incurred in litigation which are agreed upon; provided, however, that PSA will obtain the prior agreement of AL to any settlement where AL will be called upon by APSA to share in the cost of the settlement. AL will Furnish APSA assistance in the form of information deemed necessary to answer, resolve or quiet claims or complaints received concerning alleged HE contamination, insofar as AL activities are concerned.
On page 7 under APSA-Al Joint-Use Facilities:
The following facilities or portions thereof will be considerednas being used jointly by both agencies so long as both agencies have production responsibilities at facilities covered by this Agreement:
On Page 8 under Shop Facilities:
(1) Garage Building 500-129.
(2) Heavy Duty Equipment Shops Building 400-138.
(3) Battery Shop Building 11-51.
(4) General Shop Buildings 300-148, 1-01.
(5) Paint Shop Building 500-37-6.
Page 10 - Common Contractor Services: 1. Both DA and AEC contract with Mason & Hangar - Silas Mason Company Inc., for performance of their respective work at IOP and Burlington AEC Plant. In the interest of economy and efficiently the contractor will utilize the same work force for much of the performance under both contracts. It is agreed that the performance of work will being accordance with the terms of the contract under which the work is required, irrespective of what contractor personnel are involved. Each contractor employee will be designated as under one or the other of the contracts for administrative and control purposes such as the following:
a. Reimbursement of payroll and related costs.
b. Salary benefit and other similar contract approval requirements.
c. Determination as to which contract an accident is to be charged.
d. Which agency is to handle claims such as those arising from automobile accidents.
2. Nothing in this Paragraph L will affect the cost allocation provided for in Paragraph M below. Neither does this affect the costs of employees who are not performing work of benefit to the other contract.
M. Funding and Cost Allocation: APSA and Al will provide or reimburse the operating contractor with such funds as are necessary under its respective contract. Cost allocation for joint-use facilities and common services will be as agreed to by APSA and AL. Nothing in this provision affects special funding arrangements which are provided for elsewhere in this Agreement.
The legalize from this October 1, 1963 document corroborates that all former IAAP Plant employees, all of them, not just those employed by the Atomic Energy Commission on Line 1 are entitled to compensation if they file a claim about an environmental illness caused by contamination at the plant.
Dr. Laurence Fuortes sent a copy of this e-mail to the DOL in Washington D.C. In about 48 hours I received a telephone call from John Vance of DOL in Washington D.C. asking to see the contract. I told him he could not have the copy I had, but I would send him his own copy of it which I did. Meanwhile, while I had him on the telephone I asked Mr. Vance why water contamination at the plant was not considered in the claims that have been filed because it was widely known by the Department of Defense, the Atomic Energy Commission (now the Department of Energy, and Mason-Hangar, Silas Mason Co., that the plant production had polluted the plant water source. In 1972 George Mathes, in Administration at IAAP, asked for money to put the plant on Burlington water. Burlington did not have a large enough water plant. Burlington was awarded a $4 million grant to expand their water plant, and in 1978, IAAP was finally added to Burlington water. Meanwhile, the plant continued to use Lake Mathes, which they knew was contaminated, and had been contaminated for quite some time, as their main source of water until 1978.
John Vance told me it was not the job of DOL to go looking for evidence to prove former employee claims. It was the up to those filing the claims to make their case and provide their evidence. To date, they had no records on file about contamination of water at the plant.
So since that time I have attempted to provide that evidence to DOL. The following will provide links to some of the information I have been able to track down. I have asked my congressmen for help, but to date, I have not received any word from them in regard to this matter. Meanwhile, I have pressed on to find my own evidence. As you can see in the following link, there was a list of U.S. Army tests and the dates they were done from Nov. of ’76 until Oct. of 2000 so I know there are water records.
Keep in mind, however, that the state of Iowa did not require testing for most of the carcinogens that were polluting the water at IAAP so they were never part of any public water record. To date, the U.S. Army continues to say no harm was done to anyone at the plant by this contamination. I’ve seen claims that they provided bottled water to us at the plant so we weren’t drinking the water. I’m here to tell you, I worked there from August of 1969, I believe longer than the records show, but at least for a year, and I lived in Middletown, Iowa, where we were hooked up to the plant water, until Dec. of 1973, and we were never provided with bottled water. We cooked with the water, bathed in it, played in it, drank it, did our laundry with it, washed our cars and watered our lawns with it.
The percentage of the plant population who have contacted cancers is dramatically high in comparison to the general population, and people who lived adjacent to the plant fence have some higher cancers that the general population of the state.
Keep in mind, the responsibility falls on claimants to provide the evidence that there was plant wide contamination. Let me now say that in April of 2009, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. When I began advocating for former workers, I was only a concerned citizen trying to explain why my immediate family, who had lived adjacent to the plant, had 4 individuals with cancers, and then I became family member number 5 with cancer myself.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, I claim the right to request these water records from the U.S. Army. I don’t know if they are filed in Washington D.C. or if they are filed at Pantex in Texas where some records were sent. I need help tracking them down, and when they are found, I want a copy of them sent to the Department of Labor in Washington D.C. and copy of them sent to me. I’m not simply making this request for myself. I’m making this request on behalf of all the former workers of IAAP who have been denied claims so far.
Let me insert that not only AEC employees should have received compensation. U.S. Army personnel should have received compensation, Mason Hangar, Silas Mason Co. employees, and residents who lived adjacent to the contamination should have received compensation as well, as was designated in the AEC 1963 contract. I’m asking for help here.
Senators Harkin and Grassley know quite a bit about this matter, and so do Representatives Leonard Boswell and Dave Loebsack. Those are congressmen I have sent information to in regard to this matter.
The following are public information I have forwarded to DOL in Ohio and Washington DC about the plant soil and water contamination:
This is a public copy of an RAB Report dated 2001. Notice on pages 17-18-19, that numerous water quality tests dated 1-Nov-76 to 1-Oct-00 were conducted by numerous U.S. Army agencies, so that reinforces the probability that reports prior to 1976 exist somewhere as well.
In this report numerous contaminants repeatedly are listed as high risks: Explosives, Heavy Metals, VOC's - Volatile Organic Compounds, SVOC's - Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds, Nitrates, RAD - Radionuclides, Pesticides, PVC's, Freon, Sulfates, PCB's - Polychlorinated Biphenyl, POL - Petroleum. Oil & Lubricants.
This report supports my previous claim that all who worked at the IAAP Plant were exposed to contaminated ground water basically from shortly after production began in 1943 to the time in 1976 when the plant was finally connected to the Burlington, Iowa water supply.
This second link is to a document that makes reference to barium contamination at the IAAP-032 (Burn Cages), IAAP-033 (Burn Cage Landfill), IAAP-034 (West Burn Pads), and IAAP-035 (West Burn Pads Landfill). They were incorporated into one site.
The following is an additional RAB reports which I also wish to have submitted as evidence:
The 2009 IAAP RAB Report is at the following link:
As you can see, Mr. President, water contamination at the plant, groundwater contamination has been a problem since the plant opened, has been an on-going problem, and continues to be a problem to this date. The government has plans into 2043 to endeavor to get it under some kind of control.
Meanwhile, I know I’m repeating myself, but for those of us who worked at the IAAP daily, we who lived there, and in Middletown, Iowa I want to reiterate that we drank that water, swam in that water, bathed in it, washed our clothes in it, cooked with it, washed our cars and watered our lawns with it. We were exposed to plant carcinogens 24-7.
I have asked my congressmen for help in locating water records prior to those identified in these documents. As of this date, I'm still searching myself and will continue to search for evidence dating prior to these documents. Meanwhile, I’m asking for some help from you in my search for these records, and for some help in amending the DOL guidelines of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act so additional former employers with environmental illness resulting from their work at IAAP will fall within the parameters of the Act to receive a claim.
Sincerely, Jo Anne (Jody) Bresch
P.S. I'm looking for media interest in this story on behalf of civilians who are dying and who have died in the nuclear weapons industry in this country. While congress did set up an IAAP cohort for former workers, better than half of those claims filed have been denied despite the fact former workers believe their work at the plant is what caused their cancers. Feel free to contact me as I continue to pursue some kind of resolution to this issue on behalf of these heroic cold war civilians.