Cartwright, Murphy, Price Introduce Camp Lejeune Justice Act

March 26, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Matt Cartwright (D-PA-08), Greg Murphy, M.D. (R-NC-03) and David Price (D-NC-04) introduced legislation to ensure servicemembers and their families can receive justice for their exposure to toxic chemicals in drinking water at Camp Lejeune.

Over a 30-year period spanning the 1950s through the 1980s, thousands of Marines, their families, civilian workers and personnel used government provided tap water that was contaminated with harmful chemicals, found at levels ranging from 240 to 3400 times the levels permitted by safety standards. These exposures likely increased the risk of cancers, such as renal cancer, multiple myeloma, leukemia and more. It also likely raised their risk of adverse birth outcomes, along with other negative health effects.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act allows a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, and/or their family members, that were injured or died as a result of the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune to file under the Federal Tort Claims Act for fair compensation. This type of claim would already be permitted anywhere else in the United States, but because of a unique provision in North Carolina law, this legislation is necessary for those harmed at Camp Lejeune finally to seek justice.

“The servicemembers who signed up to defend their country and the people who supported them at Camp Lejeune were let down in a big way by their government,” said Rep. Cartwright. “This tragedy was a major failure on the part of the Department of Defense, and all those who suffered for it deserve justice.”

“Military service comes with incredible sacrifice and immense struggle. If government failure makes those struggles even worse, we owe it to our veterans to make sure they are taken care of,” said Rep. Murphy. “When it comes to getting care to those affected by water contamination at Camp Lejeune, we have failed. That's why I'm joining Representatives Cartwright and Price to remove the legal hurdles currently preventing veterans from getting their day in court.”

“The federal government has a responsibility to care for our veterans, servicemembers, and their families – but that’s not what happened at Camp Lejeune when thousands were exposed to contaminated tap water for decades. They deserve justice – and their day in court,” said Rep. Price. “That’s why, I’m proud to join Congressman Cartwright and Murphy in this bipartisan effort to introduce the Camp Lejeune Justice Act which will offer opportunities for long overdue judicial relief for many who have been suffering.”

Additional co-sponsors in the U.S. House are Reps. Alma Adams (D-NC-12), Ted Budd (R-NC-13), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC-01), Alcee Hastings (D-FL-20), Richard Hudson (R-NC-08), Ted Lieu (D-CA-33), Kathy Manning (D-NC-06), Patrick McHenry (R-NC-10), Del Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08), Deborah Ross (D-NC-02), and David Rouzer (R-NC-07).

Full text of the bill can be found here.