Updated 08/06/2012 08:59 PM
Obama signs bill helping Lejeune tainted water victims
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WASHINGTON—Thousands of people are expected to benefit from what is now a law requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs provide healthcare to Marine Veterans and their families who were exposed to contaminated well-water at the Camp Lejeune Marine Base.
"Sadly this bill will not bring back those we've lost including Janey Ensminger but it will honor their memory," said President Obama.
The bill is named after Jerry Ensminger's daughter, Janey, who died of a rare leukemia associated with the tainted water. Ensminger said the new law is much needed confirmation.
"I don't care what the Department of the Navy and the Marine Corp, how they try to deny it. We were wronged and the United States Congress and now the President of the United States said 'Yeah, we were wronged'," said Ensminger.
Ensminger has been lobbying lawmakers on Capitol Hill for help since 2003. Michael Partain joined him in this effort. Partain is one of 80 men diagnosed with male breast cancer which is linked to solvent exposure at Camp Lejeune.
With the help of North Carolina's senators, retiring Congressman Brad Miller was able to get the bill to the President' desk.
"We pushed, the Navy the Marine Corp. We pushed the centers for Disease Control to let us know everything about the water. So this is something I do feel a sense of accomplishment for," said Rep. Miller.
Ensminger and Partain say the new law won't help everyone affected and hope to sit down with Marine Corp leadership to talk about the remaining needs.