Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Suit Over Contaminated Camp Lejeune Water

On Monday, June 8, the Supreme Court refused to hear a suit filed by a Marine, alleging that dumping of toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune caused his son to fall ill.


After Donal McLean Snyder, Jr.’s suit was dismissed by a lower court, the high court refused to hear his appeal.


A spokesman for the Marine Corps would not comment on the ruling, but said that the water situation is a concern for the corps. Health officials believe that prior to the wells’ closing 22 years ago, as many as one million people may have been exposed to water toxins over an approximately three decade span.


In the 1970s, Snyder lived at Camp Lejeune as a young first lieutenant. He says the dumping of trichloroethylene (TCE), an ingredient in cleaning solvents, into the ground caused the water to become polluted. According to Snyder, due to his pregnant wife drinking the water, his son was born with a congenital heart defect in 1971. According to court papers, Donal McLean Snyder III is facing a second open heart surgery.


According to the ruling of the lower courts, because trichloroethylene was not regulated as a dangerous substance until the late 1970s, the government cannot be found at fault for dumping at Camp Lejeune at the time Snyder’s wife was pregnant.


Federal health officials are planning on withdrawing a 1997 assessment of health effects from the contamination at Camp Lejeune due to omissions and scientific inaccuracy. The past statement said the chemicals posed little to no risk of cancer to people at Camp Lejeune.

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