Thousands of Navy And Marine Claims Of Water Contamination Were Been Denied
The military may have deliberately withheld their knowledge of Camp Lejeune drinking water contamination until they were protected by the 10-year Statute of Repose
Wednesday, August 24, 2022 - Before passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, signed into law earlier this month, marines and navy personnel injured by drinking the local tap water had their compensation claims denied. According to WRAL News, "Navy Secretary Richard Spencer told reporters Thursday that at least 4,400 claims totaling $963 billion are being denied because there is no legal basis for paying them. He said it was a difficult decision but suggested that claimants could go to Capitol Hill to seek legislation providing restitution." The basis for denying the claims was North Carolina's Statute of Repose, similar to the Statute of Limitations. Under Repose, soldiers have only ten years after the last bad act to file a Camp Lejeune water lawsuit. This protected the military because their prior knowledge of Camp Lejeune drinking water contamination was not made public for more than a decade. It could be inferred that the military had a vested interest in sheltering themselves from almost one trillion dollars in legal claims if they could prevent the claims from being filed for at least ten years. Millions of marines and their families passed through Camp Lejeune during the years of the alleged coverup and were exposed to drinking water toxins. The gross amount of claims that could be filed under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act could be hundreds of times greater than the initial amount listed above. Punitive damages are not allowed under the new act but there is no cap on the amount of a jury award. The Marine and Navy's lack of action to alert the population of the dangers of drinking the base's contaminated water may have led to thousands of cases of cancer and the deaths of marines and their family members. According to POGO.com back in 2011, the Camp Lejeune water situation has been called the worst case of water contamination in history, and the marines knew about it and did nothing. "Between 1957 and 1987, as many as one million Marines and their family members at Camp Lejeune drank, bathed in, and cooked with water contaminated by various volatile organic compounds--some at levels as high as 280 times what is considered safe under the law. For years, the Marine Corps kept this secret, blocking many attempts to uncover the truth--even after the first news of water contamination broke in 1987."
Back in the 1970s the EPA called Camp Lejeune a major polluter. According to St. Lawrence County Government, "Records show the Marines dumped oil and industrial wastewater in storm drains. Potentially radioactive materials were buried, including carcasses of dogs used in testing. The camp even located daycare in a former malaria control shop where pesticides were mixed and stored." Toxic waste also made its way into the base's drinking water supply from a dry cleaning establishment dumping tetrachloroethylene, or PCE, a suspected carcinogen, into the nearby storm drain. It was not until 1987 that the Navy and Marines admitted their water pollution problem and closed the last contaminated water well.