Congressman to introduce bill on Lejeune water

By Kevin Maurer – The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday Oct 6, 2009 17:10:15 EDT

WILMINGTON, N.C. — A North Carolina congressman is introducing a bill to give Department of Veterans Affairs health care to those exposed to contaminated water at the Marines’ Camp Lejeune.  Rep. Brad Miller, a Democrat from North Carolina, plans to submit the legislation later this month, a companion bill to the “Caring for Camp Lejeune Veterans Act of 2009” introduced by Republican Sen. Richard Burr in July.  Miller chairs the House Committee on Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight and has held hearings on the issue.  The proposed bills would grant care at a VA facility to any veteran or family member who was based at Camp Lejeune during the time the water was contaminated and suffers from adverse health effects.  The bills do not specify what kind of health problems, only that they are connected to exposure to contaminated water. Health officials say it is impossible to know how many people would qualify. They believe as many as 1 million people may have been exposed to the toxins trichloroethylene (TCE) or perchloroethylene (PCE) before the wells were closed 22 years ago.   Miller’s office said it has been working closely with Burr’s staff and that the House version has a “few tweaks” but no major changes. One “tweak” is a clause that would update who is covered if new chemicals or health effects are discovered in future studies.


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