Local Politics

Bill would provide care for people affected by Lejeune water

Posted February 3, 2011 5:04 p.m. EST
Updated February 4, 2011 11:07 a.m. EST

Lejeune water, contaminated water, tainted water

— U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Kay Hagan introduced legislation Thursday to provide care for veterans and their family members who have experienced health problems because of contaminated well water at Camp Lejeune.

Government officials have said an estimated 750,000 people may have been exposed to cancer-causing substances in the Marine base’s water supply between the 1950s and 1980s.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry is conducting scientific studies to understand the extent of exposure on Camp Lejeune and is planning human health surveys to determine the frequency of certain illnesses among former base residents.

Similar legislation was introduced in the last Congress but was never approved.

“We now have another shot at doing the right thing for the thousands of Navy and Marine veterans and their families who were harmed during their service to our country,” Burr said in a statement. “While we continue to seek more answers, we can minimize further suffering by allowing Lejeune veterans and their families to receive the care they need and deserve.”

Hagan sent a letter to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki asking that health claims related to the Lejeune water be simplified and expedited.

"“It is critical that the VA process claims for our veterans more effectively, efficiently and consistently," Hagan said in a statement. "Our servicemen and women and their families have sacrificed so much for our country, and we owe it to them to ease their burden in dealing with VA claims.”