As a follow up to my last post about the deal between KBR and the Pentagon regarding the contractor’s liability stemming from Project RIO, or Restore Iraqi Oil, in which American and British soldiers and civilians were exposed to the toxic chemical sodium dichromate, I wanted to update the status of the lawsuits filed by West Virginia National Guardsmen.
While the cases were dismissed in August in federal court in West Virginia, the members of the West Virginia National Guard’s 1092nd Engineer Battalion have joined pending litigation in Texas (where KBR is headquartered) alongside members of the Indiana National Guard and the Royal Air Force’s Ground Regiment Gunners.
I’ve posted a copy of the lawsuit, provided by state Sen. Jeff Kessler, who represents a bunch of the West Virginia guardsmen, here. KBR’s general response to allegations relating to Qarmat Ali can be found here.
Here’s an excerpt from the lawsuit:
As stated by Lieutenant Colonel James Gentry, commanding officer of the Tell City, Indiana Guardsmen at Qarmat Ali, before his untimely death:
“I understand and accept there’s danger with my line of service, in my line of service. What’s very difficult for me to accept is if I’m working for KBR and they have knowledge of hazardous chemicals on the ground that can cause cancer and not share that knowledge, then that is putting my men at risk that is not necessary. I’m very upset over this . . . I feel like they should be ashamed that they did that.”