Thursday, February 9, 2017

Senators Klobuchar and Tillis Introduce a Bill to Help Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits

The Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Act would create a center of excellence within the Department of Veterans Affairs to better understand the health effects associated with burn pits and treat veterans who become sick after exposure. S.319 

Last year, Klobuchar testified before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to discuss the need to dedicate staff and resources to exposure diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of health conditions stemming from exposure to burn pits

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) today introduced bipartisan legislation to help veterans who have been exposed to toxic burn pits. The Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Act would create a center of excellence within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to better understand the health effects associated with burn pits and treat veterans who become sick after exposure. Last year, Klobuchar testified before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to discuss the need to dedicate staff and resources to exposure diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of health conditions stemming from exposure to burn pits.

“With an increasing number of our brave men and women returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan citing illnesses potentially caused by burn pits exposure, it’s clear that we can’t afford to wait,” said Klobuchar. “Our bipartisan bill ‎helps to move us in the right direction by dedicating staff and resources to address the health conditions related to the exposure of burn pits. We need to do right by our veterans and ensure they receive the care and support they need.”

“Many of our brave men and women in uniform were exposed to harmful substances from toxic burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we have an obligation to care for them,” said Tillis. “This bipartisan bill is the beginning of that commitment, providing resources to the VA to study the health effects caused by the burn pits and to provide treatment to veterans who became sick after exposure. I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure our veterans have the care they need and deserve.”

The burning of waste on military bases exposed many servicemembers to a variety of potentially harmful substances. Plastic, aerosol cans, electronic equipment, human waste, tires, and batteries were thrown into open pits, often doused with jet fuel, and set on fire. As a result, many deployed soldiers were exposed to smoke from these open-air burn pits. Health effects from exposure to chemicals found in burn pits may include cancer, neurological effects, reproductive effects, respiratory toxicity, and cardiovascular toxicity. Troops who have worked in these areas are subject to higher rates of asthma, emphysema, and rare lung disorders.

Original co-sponsors of this legislation include Senators Mike Rounds (R-SD), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Al Franken (D-MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). Klobuchar and Tillis also introduced this legislation in the last Congress. 

Klobuchar has worked in a bipartisan manner to modernize G.I. Bill benefits for our troops and to strengthen funding veterans’ health care.

Last year, the No Veterans Crisis Line Call Should Go Unanswered Act, bipartisan legislation she led with Senator John Thune (R-SD) to improve the Veteran Suicide Crisis Line (VCL) was signed into law by the president. In December, Klobuchar and Senator Joni Ernst’s (R-IA) bipartisan bill to establish a patient self-scheduling appointment system at Veterans Affairs Medical Facilities was signed into law by the president. The bipartisan Faster Care for Veterans Act directs the Secretary of the VA to commence a pilot program under which veterans could use the internet to schedule and confirm appointments for health care at VA medical facilities.

Exposed individuals and their families brought a lawsuit against KBR for its allegedly improper use of the burn pits and for failing to warn veterans and civilians of the hazards of being exposed.

The cases allege that prolonged exposure to the burn pits' smoke, ash and fumes, and improper water treatment, may have resulted in chronic diseases, risk of future illness and death. The lawsuit alleges that KBR burned large amounts of unsorted waste, including hazardous waste, medical waste, and human waste, at military facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The case, In re KBR Inc, Burn Pit Litigation, is a consolidated action, and is venued in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Greenbelt Division, before Judge Roger W. Titus.

The Court has rescheduled the evidentiary hearing to March 9 and 10, 2017. At that time the Court will determine whether it has subject matter jurisdiction to hear the lawsuit.

Click here to REQUEST more information about The Burn Pit Lawsuit now.

Click here to read a copy of the Second Amended Case Management Order on Jurisdictional Discovery (Document 399) 04/26/2016

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Burn Pit Lawsuit Hearing Rescheduled to March 2017

The Court has rescheduled the evidentiary hearing to March 9 and 10, 2017. At that time the Court will determine whether it has subject matter jurisdiction to hear the lawsuit. The Court entered an Order setting forth the new hearing dates.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Burn Pits: The Things That They Burned

The following article is authored bj Jennifer Percy and is shared from newrepublic.com

"Everything—all the trash of the war—was thrown in a burn pit, soaked with jet fuel, and torched. There were hundreds of open-air garbage dumps, spread out across Afghanistan and Iraq, right next to encampments where American soldiers lived and worked, ate and slept. The pits burned day and night, many of them around the clock, seven days a week. There were backyard-size pits lit by patrols of a few dozen men, and massive, industrial-size pits designed to incinerate the endless stream of waste produced by U.S. military bases. Camp Speicher, in Iraq, produced so much trash that it had to operate seven burn pits simultaneously. At the height of the surge, according to the Military Times, Joint Base Balad was churning out three times more garbage than Juneau, Alaska, which had a comparable population. Balad’s pit, situated in the northwest corner of the base, spanned ten acres and burned more than 200 tons of trash a day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Contractors sickened by military burn pits left to fend for themselves

Today's post is shared from foxnews.com:
"It’s known as “the new Agent Orange.”
Thousands of soldiers have fallen gravely ill or even died from exposure to burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq, but they are not the only ones who have gotten sick. Civilian workers and private contractors are also suffering maladies including cancer, respiratory problems and blood disorders and, like military victims, they say they are being ignored.
But private employees often don't even have the Veterans Administration to lean on.
“Who’s responsible for us? Who’s going to start taking care of us?” asked Bobby Elesky, 52, a vet-turned-private contractor who worked out of Kandahar during the war in Afghanistan.

Click here to read the entire article.
...........
The exposed individuals and their families brought a lawsuit against KBR for its allegedly improper use of the burn pits and for failing to warn veterans and civilians of the hazards of being exposed.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Burn Pit Case Hearing to Start December 13, 2016

The Court will hold an evidentiary hearing on December 13 and 14, 2016 to determine whether the Court has subject matter jurisdiction to hear the lawsuit. The Court entered an Order setting the new hearing dates. The new dates are  two days earlier than previously rescheduled.

The Second Case Management Order, entered earlier,  directs that the parties (Service members and KBR) and the United States Government, to exchange information so that the Court may make a determination as to whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case against Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) for alleged negligence involving Iraq and Afghanistan burn pit sites.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Denver Hospital Awarded $11.5 Million to Study Burn Pit Lung Illness

Researchers at National Jewish Health will seek to understand why warfighters deployed to Southwest Asia suffer increased rates of respiratory disease and test potential treatments thanks to$11.5 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Defense. The grants, awarded through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, take advantage of a unique cohort of 100 previously deployed veterans with lung disease and leverage the expertise at National Jewish Health in lung disease and repair.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Increased Respiratory and Cardiovascular Conditions Reported from Burn Pit Exposures

A recent study reports a higher incidence of breathing and heart medical conditions are suffered by soldiers who have been exposure to air pollution caused by burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. Burn pits were allegedly used to dispose of all types of waste during the Iraq [Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)] and Afghanistan [Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)] wars.