Today, the U.S. Senate passed the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012. Among other important provisions, this bill provides hospital care and medical coverage for certain illnesses to veterans and their family who served at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, NC, between 1957 and 1987.
"Justice requires that we compensate the Marines and their families who were harmed by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune," Rep. Miller said. "The harm done will never be fully put to right. But this bill is a first step in acknowledging responsibility and providing much needed treatment and care."
Marines and their families who lived on Camp Lejeune between 1957 and 1987 drank, bathed in, and cooked with water contaminated by various volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including Trichloroethylene (TCE) and Tetrachloroethylene (PCE), benzene, and vinyl chloride. Many have become ill with diseases that have been linked to the chemicals in the water. In certain cases the contamination was as high as 280 times the safe level based on Safe Drinking Water Act regulations.
The section of the bill providing health care for victims of the Camp Lejeune water contamination is titled the Janey Ensminger Act, named after Janey Ensminger, the 9-year old daughter of retired Marine Jerry Ensminger, who died of a rare leukemia. Ensminger's search for answers about the pollution at Camp Lejeune has exposed both the extent of the contamination and the need to provide care for those who were harmed by the pollution. Rep. Miller reintroduced HR 1742, the Janey Ensminger Act in 2011 as a counterpart to the Senate bill the Caring for Victims of Camp Lejeune Act.
"I would like to commend Senator Burr and Senator Murray for their work in bringing this bill together and getting it passed through the Senate," Rep. Miller said. "House Leadership should bring it to the floor for a vote as soon as possible."