Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Rep. Butterfield (D-NC) have proposed legislation on a national level that would nullify North Carolina’s statute of repose, paving the way for lawsuits related to toxic contamination to proceed.
POWER applauds the decision, as it is a first step to rectifying the injustice of the Supreme Court’s decision against the Asheville community in the CTS v. Waldburger case.
From the Congresspeople’s offices:
Hagan, Butterfield Introduce Legislation to Allow Justice for Individuals Harmed by Toxic Pollution
Bill Enables Camp Lejeune and CTS Victims to Seek Redress
June 27, 2014
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kay Hagan and Congressman G.K. Butterfield introduced legislation in the Senate and House that will protect the ability of North Carolinians harmed by toxic chemicals to seek legal recourse, including Marines harmed by contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune and families exposed to toxic chemicals at the CTS superfund site near Asheville. A recent Supreme Court ruling could prevent these individuals and families from pursuing legal recourse, and Hagan and Butterfield’s legislation clarifies that federal law preempts state laws that limit the timeframe in which damages could be recovered for injuries and diseases that often do not appear for decades after toxic exposure.
“This legislation clarifies the intent of existing federal law and addresses the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that delivered a major blow to the servicemembers and families affected by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune and the CTS site, making it nearly impossible for these victims to seek justice under the law,” Hagan said. “One short-sighted decision by the U.S. Supreme Court should not stand in the way of getting these victims the answers and justice they deserve.”
“North Carolinians and people across the country deserve protection from hazardous substances with the potential to endanger public health and the environment,” Butterfield said. “Those who release harmful substances into the environment have a responsibility to clean up contamination and address any suffering they have caused. This bill protects federal Superfund law as we know it, holds polluters accountable, and defends the rights of communities in North Carolina and across the country.”
In 2012, Hagan helped pass the bipartisan Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act, which ensured that those who were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune will receive the health care they need and deserve from the VA. She was also instrumental in ensuring that the Department of Defense released documents related to the water contamination to the public.