Raleigh – Senator Thom Tillis’ flip-flop on President Trump’s emergency declaration damaged his political career. But, as a new report shows, the real-world consequences of Tillis’ action could be far more disastrous for the well-being of North Carolina’s military families, especially those stationed at Camp Lejeune.

Among the projects now on the chopping block is a new $65 million water treatment plant at Camp Lejeune:

“Over $65 million was tentatively allocated for the water treatment plant at Hadnot Point … The project is expected to replace a water treatment plant with a 8-million-gallon-per-day water treatment facility that complies with safety regulations, according to US Navy budget estimates sent to Congress in 2017.”

The treatment plant is critical for the well-being of families on the base, which has dealt with water contamination issues for decades. As many as 900,000 servicemembers and their families were potentially exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune over three decades, increasing the risk of contracting diseases such as leukemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Parkinson’s. Among those affected:

  • Mike Partain, who was born in Camp Lejeune, later developed breast cancer.
  • Lori Lou Freshwater, who was born and grew up at Camp Lejeune, noted the contamination “can be linked to the deaths of my two baby brothers, Rusty and Charlie, and to my mom’s own difficult final years, when she was dying from two types of acute leukemia.”
  • Mary Freshwater, a former Camp Lejeune resident told an investigatory panel, “We are not numbers in a study. We are human beings that have had great tragedies.”

(Read more victims’ stories reported by the Wilmington Star-News online here.)

Now, just two months after the Navy denied claims linked to contaminated water exposure at Camp Lejeune, Senator Tillis and President Trump’s actions are threatening a desperately needed water treatment plant that would help protect military families stationed at Camp Lejeune from further contamination.

“Thom Tillis put his own political interests before the well-being of our military families,” NCDP spokesman Robert Howard said. “North Carolina deserves a senator who won’t let the needs of our servicemembers and their families be threatened, especially the countless victims at Camp Lejeune, to protect their own political skin.”

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