- Brad Schrade The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A leading activist for Camp Lejeune veterans exposed to toxic tap water will ask Congress to clear the way for families poisoned at the base to proceed with claims in court.
Retired Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger, whose daughter died of leukemia after her family lived at the North Carolina base, said in Atlanta on Tuesday that he is seeking a new law that will mitigate the impact of a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision that effectively blocked Lejeune families from seeking relief through the courts. Under the court’s ruling, those impacted by the water would have had to file a legal claim by 1994, a period when many weren’t even aware of the problems or the links to the contaminated base water.
“The only avenue I had to seek relief for all the hell she went through, my family went through, was stripped from me,” said Ensminger. “It was stripped from all of you who had dependents that were effected by this. Our judiciary system stripped us of the very damn constitutional rights that all of us were there serving to protect.”
Ensminger made his comments to those attending the Lejeune Community Assistance Panel at the Emory Conference Center. The base’s tap water was contaminated from 1953 to 1987. Recent federal programs were enacted to assist poisoned Lejeune veterans and their families. An AJC article Sunday highlighted how family members say the programs do not treat them fairly