The official blog of American Veteran Magazine, the national quarterly publication of AMVETS.

Friday, January 11, 2013

OBAMA SIGNS OPEN BURN PIT LEGISLATION


Department of Veterans Affairs to develop new registry

LANHAM,Md., Jan. 11, 2013— On Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, President Obama signed legislation requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish a registry for service members who lived and worked near open burn pits in Iraq, Afghanistan and other overseas locations. This new measure will allow VA to track the number of military personnel and veterans who have been afflicted with conditions due to burn pits, as well as inform them of treatment options.

“This is a tremendous victory for veterans and AMVETS,” said AMVETS National Legislative Director Diane Zumatto. “AMVETS has continued to push for the Department of Veterans Affairs to create a burn pit registry and believes this legislation will allow service members and veterans to receive the care they deserve.”

AMVETS has focused on the problems associated with burn pits in overseas locations, and has promoted the topic as a legislative priority since 2011. At the 68th AMVETS National Convention in Daytona Beach, Fla., AMVETS leadership and members passed Resolution 13-32: Open Burn Pit Registry Act 2011. AMVETS requested that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki develop an open burn pit registry to address the members in the Armed Forces who have been exposed to toxic chemicals and fumes as a result of burn pits. In their many efforts to further progress on this issue, AMVETS’ National Legislative Department worked with Rep. W. Todd Akin, the creator of the Open Burn Pit Act, to develop legislation involving open burn pits.

“I want to thank the countless veterans and activists for veterans causes for supporting this legislation,” said Rep. Akin. “Without the support of veterans organizations, this legislation would not be moving forward.”

In addition to this measure, AMVETS continues to advocate for VA to develop a public information campaign that will inform eligible individuals about the registry, how to register and the benefits registering, as well as developments in the treatment of associated conditions.

“AMVETS is dedicated to advocating for continued improvement of VA health care benefits and services for all service members and veterans,” said AMVETS National Commander Cleve Geer. “By establishing an open burn pit registry, both President Obama and VA have taken a positive step toward assisting veterans who have been ignored, yet suffer from conditions associated with their service overseas in conjunction with open burn pits.”

To learn more about the open burn pit registry, visit: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/burnpits/index.asp

About AMVETS:    
A leader since 1944 in preserving the freedoms secured by America’s armed forces, AMVETS provides support for veterans and the active military in procuring their earned entitlements, as well as community service and legislative reform that enhances the quality of life for this nation’s citizens and veterans alike. AMVETS is one of the largest congressionally-chartered veterans’ service organizations in the United States, and includes members from each branch of the military, including the National Guard and Reserves. To learn more visit www.amvets.org.
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