Sunday, July 22, 2012

New documents released in Lejeune water-contamination case

WASHINGTON -- A day after the Senate passed a bill designed to help sick Marines and their families who were poisoned by contaminated water at a North Carolina Marine Corps base, federal officials released thousands of old documents that detail what the Marines knew and when.

Calling the episode one of the worst environmental disasters to occur on a domestic military base, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., publicly released more than 8,000 Department of Defense documents relating to the historic drinking water contamination that occurred over several decades at Camp Lejeune.

“By getting hold of these documents, the truth is going to come out,” said Mike Partain, 44, who lived on the base as an infant and later learned he had breast cancer. “For so long, we have relied on what the Marines told us as being true. Now, we’re able to look over their shoulder and read the documents and decide for ourselves what is true and what is false.”

The release of the previously withheld documents builds momentum for a bill that would help up to 750,000 Marine veterans and their families who were exposed to the contaminated water from 1957 to 1987. It’s expected to come before the House within weeks and could be on the president’s desk by the end of the summer.


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