MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Sen. Amy Klobuchar has proposed legislation to help veterans exposed to toxic burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.
WCCO reported last month about the death of Amie Muller, a Minnesota veteran and mother of three.
The 36-year-old believed her cancer was linked to her time serving our country.
“Amie Muller’s death was such a tragedy, but then you find out it’s happened to others who’ve either gotten sick or died when they have been living or working in close proximity to these burn pits, which cropped up when we went into those wars,” Klobuchar said.
Long before Muller’s death, Klobuchar was determined to find out if exposure to pits — where the military burned waste — was linked to health concerns of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The untimely loss of the Minnesota veteran and mother of three only propelled her efforts.
“She was living in close proximity to one of the most notorious burn pits, where tons of trash and garbage and things that probably should not have been incinerated were burned right next to where she was living, working, sleeping,” Klobuchar said. “Perhaps this could have been prevented. To be that young and die from pancreatic cancer, just makes no sense.”
She introduced a bipartisan bill earlier this year that would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to create a Center of Excellence to understand the health effects associated with the burn pits and to treat veterans who become sick.
“So our goal here is not to have this be the next Agent Orange, where it takes decades for people to acknowledge that this happened, and instead immediately do this research,” Klobuchar said.
The Senator believes it’s her duty to offer support and care for those who choose to serve and sacrifice for our country.
“You figure it’s our job to at least get the facts, at least give them the tools to protect themselves moving forward and figure out what course of treatment would be the best for them,” Klobuchar said.
More than 100,000 veterans have signed the national registry to document their exposures and concerns.
The VA says there is no evidence so far of long-term health problems from exposure to burn pits.
Click here to learn more about the Amie Muller Foundation, which will hold its first fundraiser in her memory next month.