January 15, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
RE: SCOTUS Denies Writ of Certiorari in Veterans’ Suit Against KBR, Claims “It’s a Political Question”
Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the appeal by hundreds of veterans in a consolidated case, to overturn the Fourth Circuit’s 2018 decision dismissing the case against the defense contractor KBR (formerly a division of Haliburton); upholding the lower court’s opinion that the question of liability is “a political one that the President and Congress should answer” Supreme Court rejects U.S. troops' appeal over 'burn pits' illnesses | Reuters.
What no court has yet to acknowledge is that the contracts between the DoD and KBR specifically stated that KBR was solely responsible for the operation and decision making with respect to waste removal; or that the DoD has repeatedly stated that KBR violated those contracts.
There are thousands of veterans and contractors have given evidence and sworn statements that KBR was autonomous in their management of the open-air burn pits used for waste disposal in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Currently, there are over 165,877 individuals who are registered on the VA’s “Burn Pit Registry” and anecdotal tallies by veterans’ organizations claim that there are likely nearly 200,000 others who, for several reasons, are not able to sign up for this registry.
To date, the DoD and VA have refused to acknowledge any of the 50 plus years of empirical research from EPA, CDC, WHO, NIM, OSHA and thousands of others; that is clear evidence that when any of the chemicals found in the air in range of the burn pits, is ingested or comes in contact with the skin; that they each can cause life threatening and/or ending diseases. The DoD enacted specific regulations that prohibited the continued use of Burn Pits in 2009 ..\Burn Pit
Legislation\Overseas_Environmental_Baseline_Guidance_Document.pdf and in 2010, the VA established its own policy that was a “primer” for rating examiners on how to process claims for Burn Pit exposures ..\Burn Pit Legislation\VA Training Letter enviromental_hazards.pdf.
Yet to date, the VA boasts that it has approved just over 2,000 Burn Pit claims (in the nearly 9 years of their policy’s existence)!
Veteran Warriors has been a long-time advocate of severing the “immunity” umbrella that defense contractors obviously enjoy. Equally, Veteran Warriors has led the national discussion for a decade, on the hazards of the use of open-air burn pits for disposing of military waste. We now have legislation pending that will grant “Presumptive” status for those affected by the Burn Pits. H.R. 6582 “Protections for Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits” H.R.6582 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Protection for Veterans' Burn Pit Exposure Act of 2018 | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
We do not agree with SCOTUS decision to kick the can back to the President and Congress; but be assured, Veteran Warriors will be front and center now to see that our President and Congress do the right thing for those affected; once and for all.
You can join our fight and let your legislators know you want justice for all affected, by using this template letter Letter Template to Congress to support burn pit legislation..docx
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