One of the most toxic contaminations in the country began in 1957 and continued through 1987 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Marines and their family members consumed or used contaminated water containing various volatile compounds for years. According to the St. Petersburg Times, a regulation on the books of Camp Lejeune shows the Corps knew the danger organic solvents posed as early as 1974. The paper reported that the news went public in1984.
The Caring for Camp Lejeune Veterans Act of 2011 was proposed as a way to provide hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care for any illness acquired by veterans and family members who suffered effects from contamination. In June of 2011, the bill passed out of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs with bipartisan support. However, since September, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) has faced stiff opposition from military and veterans groups, Department of Defense and the Veterans Affairs regarding his method to fund the bill.
To pay for the bill, Burr included a provision that would remove the appropriations that help cover the cost of the Defense Commissary System and would fold the commissaries in with the military exchange system. This would effectively eliminate the discounted grocery benefits many service-members and their families rely upon.
Currently, the bill is on the Senate editorial calendar, awaiting debate on the Senate floor. A major push for the legislation has been provided by an upcoming documentary, Rachel Libert and Tony Hardmon’s Semper Fi: Always Faithful.
While legislation rests in the hands of Congress, we should rely on each other more than ever to keep the faith and help one another. Semper Fidelis.
Link to the timeline, courtesy of St. Petersberg Times.