Dioxin: Legislative Developments

August 31, 2015

Minnesota Congressman Introduces Bill to Extend Deadline of 1991 Agent Orange Act

Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN) has introduced the Agent Orange Extension Act of 2015, which would extend the original deadline of the Agent Orange Act of 1991 (the “AOA”) – September 30, 2015 – for two more years.

The AOA established a presumption of service connection for diseases allegedly associated with Agent Orange exposure. The AOA directed the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) to contract with the National Academy of Sciences (“NAS”) to periodically research and review diseases that might be associated with Agent Orange exposure.

The AOA required that the VA add diseases the NAS found to have a positive association to Agent Orange exposure to the VA’s list of presumptive service connected diseases.

Since the enactment of the AOA, the NAS has issued reports that have led to the presumption of service connection for diseases such as Parkinson’s, B-cell leukemia, and early onset peripheral neuropathy.

The NAS is expected to publish its final report on Agent Orange exposure in March 2016 – after the expiration of the AOA. If the AOA expires before the NAS issues its final report, the VA would not be obligated to review the NAS report or add any new diseases to the presumption of service list.

In a statement, Congressman Walz said that he introduced his bill “to fulfill the intent of” the AOA by extending the deadline for two years, “thus allowing for the VA to add any new diseases released in the next NAS report.”

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Delaware Lawmaker’s Petition Seeks Removal of “Giant ‘Dioxin Pile’ of Dangerous Waste”

Delaware Representative John A. Kowalko Jr. (D – Newark South) has created a petition on the MoveOn.org website demanding removal of a “giant ‘dioxin pile’ of dangerous waste” at the “DuPont/Chemours titanium dioxide plant in Edge-Moor, DE, on the banks of the Delaware River and Shellpot Creek.” .

The petition demands that Delaware Governor Jack Markell “protect the health and welfare of Delaware’s residents by mandating the total removal of the hazardous waste pile,” warning that it “will inevitably leak dioxin and other poisons into the air (blowing dust), into the groundwater, and into the Delaware River.” The petition also seeks to hold the owners “fully liable (jointly and severally) for the costs incurred by taxpayers for cleanup.”

As of this writing, the petition has 397 signatures.

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