U.S. Sens. Richard Burr is raising concerns with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding studies being conducted on the effects of water contamination at Marines Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat, and Rep. Brad Miller, a Raleigh Democrat joined Burr in signing the letter.
Burr, a Winston-Salem Republican, said he learned of a letter by the United States Marine Corps. to the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry asking that the agency redact locations of Camp Lejeune’s water system infrastructure due to national security concerns. Burr said the information has been publicly available for several years and “and it is unclear why it suddenly became a security threat and had to be removed from the report released by the ATSDR on January 19, 2012.”
“I fear that removing this information may jeopardize ongoing and future studies of the water contamination at Camp Lejeune, and also worry that this sets a dangerous precedent of withholding information from scientific studies for reasons of national security without adequate legal justification,” he said.
Burr, Hagan, and Miller have worked to win health care for up to 750,000 Marine veterans and their families who might have suffered from water contamination at the Marine base from the 1950s to the mid-1980s.
Burr's introduced legislation, the "Caring for Camp Lejeune Veterans Act," which would allow any veteran or family member living at Lejeune during the time of the exposed water to receive health care from the VA. The wells were shut off in the mid-1980s. Hagan is a co-sponsor.
“Marines, sailors, and the rest of the Camp Lejeune community were sacrificing for our country when they were exposed to harmful chemicals without their knowledge, and we owe it to them to continue investigating how they were affected, spur greater health awareness, and provide them the compensation and care they deserve,” Burr said.