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3/20/2004 - Independent Review Panel

Congressman Packard accepts Charter for Independent Panel Reviewing Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Events HEADQUARTERS MARINE CORPS, Washington D.C. – Congressman Ronald C. Packard, U.S. Representative of California’s 48th District (1983-2001), Panel Chairman, has authorized the following press release to be sent on his behalf: Congressman Ronald C. Packard (Ret.) today formally accepted the official charter issued by Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Michael W. Hagee, which establishes broad guidance for the independent panel tasked with reviewing the events at Camp Lejeune between 1980 and 1985—specifically, those that relate to a decision to close several drinking water wells impacted by volatile organic compounds. "It is imperative that we get the answers relative to this weighty issue," Packard said. “The Marines and their families deserve those answers, and rest assured we plan to find them. I and the panel will conduct a thorough, objective review, and will only be influenced by the facts." General Hagee said, "This charter clearly expresses my intent. It gives the panel members freedom to conduct their review as they see fit. It gives them the latitude necessary to consult independent experts, and it encourages them to listen to the views of our former base residents and other members of the public. The Marine Corps will provide the panel members with the resources to perform their important mission and then let them do their job." The independent review panel will spend six months reviewing documents and interviewing past and present base officials. This will be done to create a better understanding of the events that led to decisions made during this five-year period. The panel will have free and open access to all relevant information. Two other panel members will assist Congressman Packard. They are: ¨ General Richard D. Hearney, USMC (Ret.), former Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps (1994-1996) ¨ The Honorable Robert B. Pirie, Jr., former Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Installations and Environment) (1994-2000). A report of the panel’s findings will be submitted to the Commandant six months after the panel commences its review on or about 1 April. The panel will provide public updates on their progress as available and appropriate. To view panel’s charter, please visit the Marine Corps’ Camp Lejeune Water Survey website at: and clicking on “Independent Panel Charter.” -END-


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