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Jan-24-2010 16:29printcomments

Akaka Proposal for Camp Lejeune Found Unacceptable by Veterans and Their Families

Shifting federal roles could impact the 'Caring for Camp Lejeune Veterans Act'.

Marine Corps flag
Salem-News.com

(CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.) - There are few people who know more about the Marine Corps' contamination problems at Camp Lejeune, N.C. than Jerry Ensminger. Jerry lost his daughter Janey to cancer, which he later learned was connected to the toxic water at the Marine base.

After Jerry put it all together, he became a relentless force in his desire to expose the situation and save Marines and their families.

Here is the letter Jerry and others are sending to the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee:

I am writing you today because you are a legislative assistant to a senator who serves on the Senate Veterans' Affairs committee or you are a member of the Veterans' Affairs committee professional staff. I am one of the 152,467 victims who are currently registered with the United States Marine Corps and/or I am a concerned family member of a victim.

It has come to our attention that Senator Akaka, Chairman Senate Veterans' Affairs committee has proposed an alternative to Senator Burr's S-1518 "Caring for Camp Lejeune Veterans Act." We also understand that the chairman's proposal will attempt to shift the heaviest responsibility and thus the control of providing Camp Lejeune victims their health care away from the Veterans Administration and place it on the Department of Defense, the entity responsible for our exposures. We find the inclusion of the Department of Defense to any degree in this process unacceptable for the following list of well documented facts;

1. It was a Department of Defense entity who violated their own regulations/protective standards which allowed our drinking water to become contaminated in the first place.

2. It was a Department of Defense entity who knowingly provided us this contaminated drinking water after it was determined to be contaminated.

3. It is a Department of Defense entity who has, and continues to attempt to conceal and deny the magnitude of this contamination through deceit and wanton manipulation of the facts, all of which are throughly documented.

4. Currently, a Department of Defense entity is in direct violation of United States Code, Title 42, through its steadfast refusal to fully fund the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's ongoing congressionally mandated mission at Camp Lejeune.

5. Camp Lejeune is the only Department of Defense "Super Fund" site which involves documented exposures to contaminated drinking water. The documented levels of contaminants found in Camp Lejeune's drinking water are some of the highest in this nation's history. Tens of thousands of service men, women and their families were needlessly poisoned. Therefore it is our view that for these reasons it would only serve to minimize what happened at Camp Lejeune by not specifically addressing the Camp Lejeune tragedy with separate and distinct legislation.

I must ask you, with the above demonstrated track record and unwillingness to comply with current Federal law; Would you want your own or a family member's destiny placed back into the very hands of the party responsible for perpetrating the transgression? That is why we cannot fathom why Senator Akaka and members of the Veterans' Affairs Committee would think we would find this proposal acceptable.

We have a department within our federal government which was created for this very purpose, the Veterans Administration, and that is where the Camp Lejeune veterans and their affected family members should be cared for. It would be a fool's errand and quite frankly catastrophic to allow the tentacles of the Department of Defense to infiltrate this critical phase of the scientific inquiry into the largest domestic environmental contamination in Department of Defense history. We volunteered to protect and defend our nation knowing full well that our service could result in personal harm or even death, but what we never bargained for was the fact that our own leadership would knowingly and negligently allow us and our family members to be poisoned. That is why we know Senator Burr's bill (S-1518) has our best interests at heart.

J. M. Ensminger




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carol hall June 30, 2010 12:23 pm (Pacific time)

i would like to find out more, lost my daughter to leukemia, a very painful life until death. my husband who gave his life to the usmc had many health issues and killed himself after years of pain and loosing his child. have 2 other kids with medical problems and are like me..disabled..now in mount holly n.c.


Terry Fristoe Dyer January 25, 2010 7:49 am (Pacific time)

Please join us by calling Senator Akaka that is proposing this counter propsal for the Senate Bill SF 1518. His number in Washington is 202-224-6361 and his office in Honolulu is 808-522-8970. His Hilo number is 808-935-1114. If you need any other info about this situation please check out www.watersurvivors.com or write us at info@watersurvivors.com This is vitally important to all of us and we need to act on this today. Also call each of your state Senators and ask them to help us to stop this proposal and leave our bill the way it was written.


Frances January 25, 2010 12:15 am (Pacific time)

This is just sad. There seem to be a lot of bad guys running things in our country. DOD, Pentagon, Congress, the Supreme Court. And too many foolish Americans repeating the lies of those who know they are stupid enough to be used. Is there really any hope for America anymore?


Edward Dutton January 24, 2010 8:49 pm (Pacific time)

Senator Akaka's proposal is absurd and demonstrates a lack of knowledge and understanding of the Camp Lejeune ground water contamination debacle. The Senator actually believes that the health care of the victims should be the responsibility of the very Department that initially poisoned them and continues to obstruct further investigation into this issue. The adoption of this nonsensical proposal woul be akin to allowing the the fox to guard the proverbial hen house.

Heres a novel idea for you Senator Akaka, why don't you follow the recommendations of the experts on this issue such as Mr. Ensminger, Mr. Partain, Ms. Byron, Senator Burr and numerous others. Don't reinvent the wheel, get it rolling.


Mary Blakely January 24, 2010 6:08 pm (Pacific time)

Thank you once again for following this Human Rights Violation and the contempt towards the Laws of this nation that the DOD truly has! I am one of those countless victims that is now going to potentially have the very people that allowed me and my family to be poisoned to control if any kind of help will be provided!What is it going to take for the Honorable Marines that I know are out there stand up for their fallen brothers and sisters.On this very night thousands of young,brave, American heroes are fighting in the Battle Fields of Afganistan and Iraq.Could you imagine if it were their families that were being poisoned?Veterans all across this world would rise up and demand justice for them.Please don't allow the DOD to finish the kill that they have and still are covering up.Write and phone your representatives in Washington and demand that this be stopped and that the Senate Bill SF 1518 be put in place just as it was written.Semper Fi!!Mary Blakely

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