January 24, 2012- WASHINGTON, D.C. — OpenTheGovernment.org, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and allies are pressing the Pentagon and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to come clean about water contamination at the U.S. Marine Corps base, Camp Lejeune—where Marines, civilians, and their families were poisoned by the water they used and drank, but have yet to see justice after years of secrecy. Their plight was recently featured in the Academy Awards short-listed film, Semper Fi: Always Faithful, which documents the catastrophic effects of the contamination and resulting cover-up.
Jerry Ensminger, a retired Marine who lived at Camp Lejeune with his family, told POGO that the Department of the Navy has often concealed crucial information about the water contamination. Ensminger lost his young daughter to leukemia and has worked tirelessly to uncover the truth about the contamination.
“I find it rather disheartening and frightening that federal agencies grant each other secrecy when the issues concern the health, safety, and welfare of hundreds of thousands of American citizens who were in fact poisoned by one of the federal departments protected by the agreement,” Ensminger said.
Last week, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) released a report on the water contamination at Camp Lejeune that was redacted in response to a legally dubious request by the Navy. In a letter sent today, the allies raised concerns about the legal justifications for the redactions and urged HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to ensure the public release of the unredacted ATSDR report to the full extent allowable under the law.