Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

BREAKING: U.S. House Passes Groundbreaking Bill Providing Medical Care to Water Contamination Survivors

Change.org

Jerry Ensminger with his daughter Janey who died at the age of 9 after being diagnosed with childhood leukemia caused by the cancer-causing chemicals in the water at the Camp Lejeune military base where they lived.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a groundbreaking bill, spearheaded by a campaign led by U.S. Marine Sgt. Jerry Ensminger, to establish medical care for the estimated 200,000 people who were exposed to cancer-causing contaminants in the water on a military base. Ensminger, whose daughter Janey died from leukemia after being exposed to water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, started a Change.org petition that rallied more than 135,000 people to support his efforts.

The Camp Lejeune crisis is widely referred to as the largest water contamination incident in American history, having spanned more than three decades and exposed as many as a million people to cancer-causing chemicals. Today’s vote follows an earlier Senate vote in July, where the bill was passed by unanimous consent. 


“I have been waiting for this moment for fifteen years,” said Jerry Ensminger, who started the petition on Change.org. “I am thankful to every single one of the 135,000 people who signed my petition, and everyone who has supported this important campaign over the years."



Ensminger’s petition called on the U.S. Congress to provide medical care for the families who were stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1957-1987, a 30-year period when water on the base was contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals. The contamination at the base has been well-documented through the years, though Ensminger says the U.S. government has been slow to respond to calls for medical help for affected veterans and their families. 


The bill is expected to be signed into law by President Obama in the coming weeks. 


“I hope other communities who have suffered like the people of Camp Lejeune will be inspired by what we have accomplished,” said Ensminger. “It’s taken years of work to pass this historic bill, and I hope our time and effort will make it easier for others. I can’t bring my daughter back, but I am so proud that Janey’s name is on this bill to inspire others to work for justice.”



Ensminger has testified before Congress and is the subject of the award-winning documentary Semper Fi: Always Faithful. He also co-founded the organization The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten—an organization focused on connecting survivors of Camp Lejeune’s water contamination to each other.



Ensminger has said that he thinks the Marines assumed Camp Lejeune residents would move on and, if they became sick, wouldn't realize that their health issues could be connected to the contaminated water.

"They weren't counting on one angry parent and the Internet," he told Martha Waggoner of the Associated Press last week, referring to his Change.org petition and other online organizing efforts.


Visit EcoWatch’s WATER page for more related news on this topic.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pangolin hunting for ants. 2630ben / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Alexander Richard Braczkowski, Christopher O'Bryan, Duan Biggs, and Raymond Jansen

Pangolins are one of the most illegally trafficked animals on the planet and are suspected to be linked to the current coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Humpback whale splashing in the North West Atlantic Ocean, Massachusetts. Tim Graham / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

In a move that environmentalists warned could further imperil hundreds of endangered species and a protected habitat for the sake of profit, President Donald Trump on Friday signed a proclamation rolling back an Obama-era order and opening nearly 5,000 square miles off the coast of New England to commercial fishing.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD

Fresh fruits and vegetables are a healthy way to incorporate vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants into your diet.

Read More Show Less
These 19 organizations and individuals represent a small portion of the efforts underway to fight racism and inequality and to build stronger Black communities and food systems. rez-art / Getty Images

By Danielle Nierenberg

Following the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, people around the United States are protesting racism, police brutality, inequality, and violence in their own communities. No matter your political affiliation, the violence by multiple police departments in this country is unacceptable.

Read More Show Less
Residents plant mangroves on the coast of West Aceh District in Indonesia on Feb. 21, 2020. Mangroves play a crucial role in stabilizing the coastline, providing protection from storms, waves and tidal erosion. Dekyon Eon / Opn Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mangroves play a vital role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere. Mangrove forests are tremendous assets in the fight to stem the climate crisis. They store more carbon than a rainforest of the same size.

Read More Show Less
UN World Oceans Day is usually an invite-only affair at the UN headquarters in New York, but this year anyone can join in by following the live stream on the UNWOD website from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. https://unworldoceansday.org/

Monday is World Oceans Day, but how can you celebrate our blue planet while social distancing?

Read More Show Less

Trending

Cryptococcus yeasts (pictured), including ones that are hybrids, can cause life-threatening infections in primarily immunocompromised people. KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

By Jacob L. Steenwyk and Antonis Rokas

From the mythical minotaur to the mule, creatures created from merging two or more distinct organisms – hybrids – have played defining roles in human history and culture. However, not all hybrids are as fantastic as the minotaur or as dependable as the mule; in fact, some of them cause human diseases.

Read More Show Less