Monday March 10, 2014
Janey Ensminger Act to Care for Camp Lejeune Families ReintroducedSalem-News.com
U.S. Reps. Brad Miller and John D. Dingell Reintroduce legislation to aid Marines & civilians whose lives were impacted by Camp Lejeune's toxic water.
(WASHINGTON D.C.) - Today, U.S. Reps. Brad Miller (D-NC13) and John D. Dingell (D-MI15) reintroduced a bill that would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide health care to veterans and their families who have suffered adverse health effects after exposure to toxic water at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
The bill is named after Janey Ensminger, the 9-year old daughter of former Marine Jerry Ensminger, who died of a rare leukemia. Ensminger's search for answers led him to the discovery of one of the largest water contamination cover-ups in history and is the subject of an award-winning documentary: http://www.tribecafilm.com/news-features/news/Directors_of_Semper_Fi_Always_Faithful_.html
"More than a million Marines or their families were exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune," Rep. Miller said. "Passing this legislation is the next step in acknowledging responsibility for the harm the water contamination has done and providing justice for families like Jerry's."
Marines and their families who lived on Camp Lejeune between 1957 and 1987 have become ill with cancers such as male breast cancer, childhood leukemia and other diseases believed to be linked to the drinking water at Camp Lejeune.
Marines and their families at Camp Lejeune drank, bathed in, and cooked with water contaminated by various volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including Trichloroethylene (TCE) and Tetrachloroethylene (PCE), benzene and vinyl chloride. In certain cases the contamination was as high as 280 times the safe level based on Safe Drinking Water Act regulations.
"25 years after the wells were shut down, Marines and their families still don't have answers about the contaminated water they were exposed to. For some of them, like Jerry and his late daughter, justice will never be served," said Rep. Dingell.
"For others, this legislation offers suffering veterans and their families a chance to right some of the wrongs by getting treatment and care to which they are entitled."
The Janey Ensminger Act would establish a presumption of service connection for disabilities or illnesses associated with exposure to these toxins, in service members stationed at Camp Lejeune during the time of the contamination. The bill would also require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide health care to family members who have a disability or illness as a result of exposure to contaminated well water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. While the Department of Veterans Affairs has made strides in processing the claims of Lejeune veterans, there is still a large amount of uncertainty for these Marines and their families.
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