Under the Dome

Governor signs bill helping Lejeune, Asheville families in pollution lawsuits

Mary Blakely clears dirt and grass from a 60-year-old temporary tin marker in the "Babyland" section of Onslow Memorial Park in Jacksonville, N.C. on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. The Marine's daughter scoured this and other graveyards for the names of children who may have died because of contaminated water at nearby Camp Lejeune. (AP Photo/Allen Breed)
Mary Blakely clears dirt and grass from a 60-year-old temporary tin marker in the "Babyland" section of Onslow Memorial Park in Jacksonville, N.C. on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. The Marine's daughter scoured this and other graveyards for the names of children who may have died because of contaminated water at nearby Camp Lejeune. (AP Photo/Allen Breed) AP

Gov. Pat McCrory on Friday signed a bill that sailed unanimously through the General Assembly in a little more than a week. The measure counters a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that could have prevented people from suing over groundwater contamination in Asheville and Camp Lejeune.

The bill, SB574, clarifies that it was not the legislature’s intent to put a 10-year deadline on suing over harm from exposure to groundwater pollution. The law was written to apply to product liability lawsuits.

“This solution is a testament to our ability in state government to work together in a bipartisan manner to respond swiftly to citizens’ needs,” McCrory said in a statement. “I would like to thank the members of the General Assembly for taking quick action to address the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling.”

On June 9, the Supreme Court ruled that a lawsuit by residents of an Asheville subdivision, where an electronics manufacturing plant polluted well water, couldn’t proceed because of the 10-year state limit. The company residents sued hadn’t owned the plant in 24 years.

Based on the Supreme Court ruling, the Obama administration asked an appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit over contaminated groundwater from a dry cleaning facility that contaminated tap water for over three decades at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville.

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