JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The Lejeune Justice Act would have allowed people exposed to toxic water on Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 a chance to file a suit in court. The bill was recently withdrawn from Congress because of a lack of funding.
Mike Partain was diagnosed with male breast cancer, an extremely rare condition for men that appears to be abnormally common for those exposed to Camp Lejeune drinking water during the time Partain lived on base.
“The importance of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is basically, we’re not asking for a handout, we’re not asking for people to give you money or something like that,” Partain said. “What we’re asking is for our civil rights to be restored.”
Partain worked on The Janey Ensminger Act, which was passed in 2012 by the Obama Administration. It allowed non-military family members to apply for benefits related to exposure to toxic water. Later, it was ruled that claims had to be filed within two years of exposure. That would mean Partain would have had to file his claim 14 years before he even knew he was sick.
Partain is frustrated that this is even an issue for Congress, saying, “This is something that is not Democratic, it’s not Republican. You think one thing that our Congress to get together and unify behind and start doing the right thing would be for our American military service personnel and their families.”
Partain said the next step is to find a secure source for funding.
“To me, that’s pretty easy,” he added.
Advocates like Partain remain hopeful the bill will eventually get passed.