Open Letter to The Governor

Representative Patrick’s Comments upon receiving Congressional Delegations Letter to Governor regarding the Distribution of Potassium Iodide (KI)

After seeing a copy of a letter sent to Governor Romney from the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, Representative Patrick issued this statement.

I’m grateful for the intervention of Congressman Markey and the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation into the unfortunate refusal of Governor Romney to correct commissioner, Christine McCombs of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, who refuses to retract a statement made to the Federal Department of Health and Human Services claiming that the Commonwealth’s policy is opposed to distribution of Potassium Iodide (KI) beyond the existing ten mile emergency protections zones of nuclear power plants.

I also question whether the administration is committed to implementing a law passed by the Legislature in 2002 requiring the distribution of KI to all towns who request it on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Cape Ann. This law is supported by an amendment introduced by Congressman Markey to the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, which mandates the provision of KI to all people living within 20 miles of a nuclear reactor free of charge.

By his inaction, the Governor is jeopardizing health of millions of the Commonwealth’s residents who live within 20 miles of a nuclear reactor or in areas of the state with a very limited ability to evacuate. We know terrorists target nuclear facilities. We also know that mass evacuations are next to impossible to do quickly.

The Governor is deciding he knows better than the National Academy of Science, the World Health Organization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about the use of Potassium Iodide in the event of a nuclear emergency. The Governor through his inaction is saying he can ignore the laws passed by the legislature.

Representative Matthew C. Patrick of Falmouth sponsored the amendment to the bill passed into law in 2002 requiring the provision of KI on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Cape Ann and has been urging its implementation ever since. He was notified of Commissioner McCombs’ comments in a letter to Robert G. Claypool, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, dated December 13, 2004, by a whistle blower this past July. Rep. Patrick is a member of the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy.

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