Fort McClellan, Anniston, AL, housed among other units the Army’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Corps. This Corps was responsible for the containment and disposal of chemical weapons, and it carried out this function, primarily, at Ft McClellan, a task it had done since before WWII. The base was closed 15 years ago due to failures in containment and leaching of the toxins into the soil and local water supply.
Monsanto also had been leaking toxins into the area’s water supply and soil from its own herbicide manufactory. Locals suffering from the effects of these contaminants successfully sued Monsanto in 2003, four years after McClellan’s closure, but for reasons that aren’t particularly important to this post Army personnel and their families who had been stationed at the base were blocked from joining the suit.
In January of last year, the Fort McClellan Health Act was introduced to fill the resulting gap in these veterans’ ability to get coverage and medical treatment for the effects of their own and their families’ exposure to the toxins handled at the base. It’s been languishing in committee (first in the House’s Committee on Veterans Affairs, then the Subcommittee on Health) since then.
This is an unacceptable bureaucratic delay (because I don’t think the Congressmen themselves don’t care about our veterans’ or families’ health), and it must stop. This bill needs to be promptly debated and brought to fruition, properly paid for, and moved along to House passage, following which the Senate needs to move it to a vote and the President sign it into law.
Write your Representatives and Senators. Call them. Email them. Social media. There’s been enough delay, not just for the last 21 months, but since this problem first came to light over a decade ago.