Sustained Outrage

Military exposure bills approved by Veterans’ Committee

rockefellercolor.jpgLast week, the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs approved two bills geared towards improving health care and homelessness for veterans, particularly those who may have been exposed to hazardous materials during their service. You can read the press release here.

Particularly of note, the Homeless Veterans and Other Health Care Authorities Act of 2010 contains provisions that extends health care eligibility for Gulf War veterans until 2012, “including those exposed to sodium dichromate at Qarmat Ali.”

As the Gazette and others have reported, those exposed to the toxic chemical at the Qarmat Ali water plant included members members of the West Virginia National Guard’s 1092nd Engineer Battalion.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who serves on the Veterans’ Committee, issued the following statement:

For years, these soldiers were kept in the dark — not told about their exposure and left to fend for themselves. Today, they are struggling to get the health care they need and deserve — that is absolutely deplorable. This week’s comprehensive legislation is an important step forward and makes clear that we will fight for the men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line every day.