FORT KENT, Maine — For decades members of the Maine, Massachusetts,
Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Rhode Island National Guard and
reserves trained at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in New Brunswick,
about 100 miles east of the Maine border.
In 2007 the Canadian government admitted to working with the United
States military in testing the herbicides Agent Orange, Agent Purple,
Agent White and other unregistered pesticides at locations around the
base in the late 1960s and began paying one-time settlements to its own
veterans who served on the base.
Last week Rep. Mike Michaud, ranking member of the House Committee on
Veterans’ Affairs, reintroduced a bill to help Maine veterans who
trained at Gagetown after the testing period and may be concerned they
were exposed to toxic levels of the herbicides.
To date, according to Michaud’s office, the U.S. Department of Veterans
Affairs does not have comprehensive data on veterans looking for
compensation based on chemical exposure at Gagetown.
Michaud’s bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Chellie Pingree, would “establish a
voluntary CFB Gagetown registry containing the names of veterans who
apply for care or services from the VA based on a condition linked to
their time at CFB Gagetown. The legislation would also provide a health
exam to these veterans at their request. A registry would allow these
veterans to officially list their possibly service-connected illnesses
and increase opportunities for outreach and research,” according to a
release from his office.
“No veteran should be denied the care they have earned. It’s extremely
frustrating that the VA doesn’t track these concerns,” said Michaud.
“This is not a new issue, and the VA must improve its ability to reach
out to veterans who may face special challenges in establishing
service-connection. A registry will provide us more information to get a
better handle on the full scope of the problem, and I believe it’s a
critical first step toward helping these veterans get the care they
READ MORE: http://www.stripes.com/news/us/registry-would-gather-info-on-us-vets-exposed-to-toxins-at-canadian-base-1.214483