Amidst a slew of current environmental issues that would likely be perceived as negative or debatable at best comes a breath of fresh air for some very deserving Americans—the soldiers and families who were unknowingly exposed to water contamination at Camp Lejeune.
While the decision is not final, this week, the South Carolina senate passed a bill that would “give thousands of sick Marine veterans and their families health care for illnesses contracted from decades of water contamination on Camp Lejeune,” reported Amanda Wilcox of the JD Daily News.
In what was described as a “gentleman’s agreement,” the victims would finally feel some sense of validation to their claims. Washington State senator Pat Murray said, “These families have waited for decades to get the assistance that they need and should not be forced to wait any longer.”
According to Franco Ordonez of the Miami Herald, “[Senator] DeMint said he was always supportive of the ‘underlying bill,’ but he'd put a procedural hold on it and charged that there weren't enough safeguards to prevent fraud by those whose illnesses weren't due to contaminated water.”
"The modification would make sure the veterans who deserve these benefits get them and they're not taken advantage of by fraud from others who don't deserve it," said South Carolina senator, Jim DeMint.
From the late 1950s until almost 1990, Camp Lejuene’s tap water was a cest pool of with hazardous waste materials including VOCs, PCE, TCE, and as many as 70 other harmful chemicals, according to Wikipedia.com. Disproportionate numbers of people affiliated with the base began coming down with a variety of health ailments including cancer and death. The exact numbers people who were exposed are not known, but the bill is expected to “help as many as 750,000 veterans and their families,” said Ordonez.