- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 12, 2017

The U.S. has agreed to pay more than $2 billion to veterans who developed any of eight diseases linked to their time spent at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987.

Roughly 900,000 Marine Corps veterans breathed a sign of relief on Thursday as a decadeslong fight over contaminated water came to an end. The Obama administration agreed Thursday via the Federal Register to pay more than $2.2 billion over a five-year period from those who suffer the following medical conditions: adult leukemia, aplastic anemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Parkinson’s disease.

The decision was made after VA Secretary Robert McDonald determined that “sufficient scientific and medical evidence” exists to prove a linkage between health problems and those who spent at least 30 cumulative days on the base.

“This is good news,” retired Marine Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger told the Associated Press. “This has been a hard, long slog.”

Mr. Ensminger’s daughter, Janey, was born while he was stationed at the base in 1979 and died at age 9 of leukemia.

“This is not the end of the issue,” added Mr. Ensminger, who runs The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten on behalf of disabled veterans.

Veterans groups investigating the issue uncovered documents showing tests confirming contaminated water in the early 1980s, AP reported. Although some drinking wells were closed, others that were tainted by a leaking fuel tank off-base remained operational.

The Marine Corps said the contamination was unintentional and occurred before federal laws limited toxins in drinking water.

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