The Center Square by Alan Wooten

To ensure veterans exposed to contaminated water can access the remedies they are owed, two members of Congress from North Carolina have introduced legislation to remove barriers to assistance.

U.S. Reps. Deborah Ross, D-N.C., and Dr. Greg Murphy, R-N.C., have introduced the Camp Lejeune Justice Corrections Act. It is needed, they say, so veterans and civilians can file tort claims against the federal government for damages related to harm caused by exposure to toxic water at the Marine Corps base between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987.

Already enacted are the PACT Act of 2022 and the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. This update will clarify the right to jury trials, cap attorneys' fees, and expand jurisdiction to alleviate the backlog of cases, a release says.

Ross, in a statement, said, “Included in the historic PACT Act, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act has enabled these veterans to finally seek damages in court. The legislation we are introducing today will make needed reforms to ensure that veterans nationwide do not face financial or logistical barriers to pursuing the long-overdue remedies they are owed.”

Murphy added, “The Camp Lejeune Justice Act was established to rectify the injustices our veterans faced and streamline their access to rightful claims. However, many still struggle to benefit due to unforeseen obstacles.

“I am committed to ensuring that the brave men and women who served our nation, along with their families and civilian workers, receive the justice they deserve after enduring exposure to contaminated water. These updates will help alleviate the backlog of cases, ensuring timely resolution and closure for all that have been affected.”

Endorsement of the bill comes from the Special Operations Association of America, and the Fleet Reserve Association. Co-sponsors include North Carolina Democratic Reps. Kathy Manning, Don Davis and Jeff Jackson, and Republican Reps. Richard Hudson, Patrick McHenry, David Rouzer and Chuck Edwards, and Rep. Laurel Lee, R-Fla.