- Associated Press Release
----- Original Message -----
From: "Estes Thompson"
Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2004 10:14 AM
¶ RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ A Vermont senator's call for expanded study
into contaminated water at Camp Lejeune could help thousands of people
left out of earlier examinations, former base residents said Tuesday.
¶ In letters to the secretaries of Health and Human Services and the
Navy, Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., said that all Marines and their families
who lived in base housing between 1968 and 1985 should be notified of
the potential problems.
¶ Jeffords sent the letters as the ranking member of the Senate
Environment and Public Works Committee, said spokesman Erik Smulson. The
letters were written in response to attempts over the years by defense
agencies to get broader exemptions from environmental laws, Smulson
¶ Marine engineers discovered in 1980 that drinking water at Lejeune,
the largest Marine base on the East Coast, was highly contaminated with
solvents and other organic compounds and pollutants. The contaminated
wells at the base were not closed until 1985.
¶ Jeffords said as many as 200,000 people who lived in base housing
could have been affected and that congressional hearings on the issue
¶ There was no immediate comment Tuesday from Marine Corps
¶ Spokesmen for North Carolina's senators said they maintain contact
on the issue with retired Marines and families who formerly lived on
¶ Brian Nick, a spokesman for Sen. Elizabeth Dole, said the Republican
believes that expanding the study to include all former Lejeune
residents might delay "determining the effects of the contaminants on
¶ The 9-year-old daughter of Jerry Ensminger, a retired Marine master
sergeant died of cancer after living on base. Ensminger, of Richlands,
said he has been contacted by an investigator for the U.S. Environmental
¶ "My daughter's dead," Ensminger said. "I have a claim submitted. No
amount of money is going to bring Janey back right now, but there are
people out there who have children who have been harmed by this and need
medical care and adults who need help."
¶ Wilmington resident Terry Dyer, 47, lived with her family in base
housing for 15 years before her then-45-year-old father _ a Marine
school principal _ died of a heart attack in 1973.
¶ Dwyer, who has suffered for years from muscle pain and unexplained
illnesses, organized a survivors group that is pressing for a hearing.
She said she has visited the state's U.S. senators and is working with
them to organize a telephone conference call to discuss the issue.
¶ Dwyer said people exposed to the contaminated water want testing to
determine if they have health problems, health care for their problems
¶ "There were thousands of children and adults living out there who
are sick and dying today," she said. "The Marine Corps knew about this
... They found out about it in 1980 and they didn't cap the wells until
¶ "They're waiting for us to die so that we will be quiet. We're not
going to be quiet."
¶ On the Net:
¶ Terry Dwyers' group: www.watersurvivors.com
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