Supreme Court Rejects Appeal Over Military Burn Pits

Capt. Eric Morton, Company B, 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment commander, Maj. Ahmed Hassan Company 4, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Brigade, 6th IA Division commander, and 1st Lt. Yasev Mutasam, 4th Company executive officer walk through the Shakriyah area during Operation New Town, an air assault mission June 10. (U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Christopher McKenna)

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court is rejecting appeals from military veterans who claim they suffer health problems because of open burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The justices on Monday left in place a federal appeals court ruling that more than 60 lawsuits over the burn pits could not go forward.

The lawsuits said military contractor KBR dumped tires, batteries, medical waste and other materials into open burn pits. The suits claimed the resulting smoke caused neurological problems, cancers and other health issues in more than 800 service members. The complaints said at least 12 service members died.

The appeals court said KBR was essentially under military control and had little discretion in deciding how to manage the waste. KBR’s attorney said the decision to use burn pits “was made by the military.”

KBR was formerly owned by Halliburton Corp.

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