January 16, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) joined a bipartisan group of his colleagues requesting a meeting with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson to address the agency’s failure to protect tenants living in federally subsidized housing from the cancer-causing dangers of radon and to chart a path forward to resolve this serious health hazard. Despite a federal mandate to “develop an effective departmental policy for dealing with radon contamination... to ensure that occupants of [public housing] are not exposed to hazardous levels of radon,” recent investigative reporting by The Oregonian showed that tenants of public housing across the country – including in Maine – continue to be exposed to hazardous levels of radon.
“We write to emphasize our serious concern that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is not taking all the necessary steps to protect Americans living in federally-subsidized housing from radon contamination,” the senators wrote. “Because HUD has not answered previously-asked questions regarding the presence of radon in public housing, we respectfully request a meeting with you to discuss ways we can work together to solve this issue once and for all. We are eager to work with you to protect Americans – especially the elderly, those with disabilities, and children and families – living in federally-subsidized housing from the risks posed by high radon levels, and urge you to take swift action to address this problem.”
In addition to Senator King, the letter is cosigned by Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)
In addition to a meeting with Secretary Carson, the senators also asked the administration include in the President’s Fiscal Year 2021 Budget a request for funds to sufficiently help public housing agencies test for and mitigate high radon levels in federally-subsidized housing.
The full letter can be downloaded HERE.