Pollution-Plagued Military Installations Spread Across 19 Million Acres
According to a recent article in Newsweek, 4,127 pollution-plagued military installations spread across 19 million acres in this country makes the U.S. Department of Defense one of the world’s worst polluters. These military sites are riddled with contamination from toxic pollutants, act as graveyards for chemical weapons, and serve up poisonous groundwater filled with gasoline and other solvents, wreaking havoc on the lives our servicemen and their families. Of the approximately 1,200 Superfund sites across the country, abandoned military bases account for about 900.
Camp Lejeune, the 246-square-mile Marine Corp Base in Jacksonville, NC, was touted as “the worst example of water contamination this country has ever seen” by CBS news legend Dan Rather. The magnitude of the pollution at Camp Lejeune led to it being named one of the 141 Superfund sites to receive special clean-up grants from the federal government. The base contamination has been linked to 84 cases of male breast cancer, thousands of diagnoses of rare cancers, leukemia, birth defects and other illnesses – a fact that was blatantly covered up by military personal until servicemen began asking questions.
When the contamination was brought to light, the federal government took action to help the victims of Camp Lejeune. In 2012, President Obama promised to stand by our military men and women who were exposed to the contaminants at Camp Lejeune by enacting the Janey Ensminger Act, a law that presumes service- connected disabilities for certain injuries related to Camp Lejeune and extends VA health benefits to family members with certain illnesses.
Several former service members and family members have also filed claims against the federal government for injuries they suffered as a result of the contamination at Camp Lejeune. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of the United States dealt victims a serious blow by ruling that existing federal laws did not override the 10-year time limit for filing cases in North Carolina. Fortunately, two congressional leaders in North Carolina – Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) – championed this cause by introducing legislation intended to clarify the state’s time limit statute. The bill was eventually signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory (R-NC) and applies only to cases involving groundwater contamination in North Carolina.
Bell Legal Group is representing victims of the Camp Lejeune contamination and is continuing to accept new clients. If you or your loved one has been affected by the toxic water contamination at Camp Lejeune, contact us today for more information about how we can help.