RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — It started out as suspected strep throat. But six-year-old Janey Ensminger’s parents would soon learn that it was leukemia.

Conceived and born at Camp Lejeune, Janey was also being raised there. She died just more than two years later.

“Well, that was my driving force and the more I got into this and the more people I heard from, you know, I wasn’t alone,” said her father and retired USMC Master Sergeant, Jerry Ensminger.

It took another decade for Jerry and so many others to learn that people who lived on base between 1953 and 1987 were exposed to cancer-causing contaminated water.

Last August, President Biden signed the bi-partisan Camp Lejeune Justice Act into law to compensate veterans and their families for past and current related illnesses.

“We have all kinds of people out here that are suffering from really devastating health effects and by them delaying it, more and more of these people are dying before they ever see any justice,” said Ensminger.

There’s been little movement since the law was enacted.

North Carolina’s delegation in the Senate and House sent a letter to the Department of Justice urging the agency to move quickly and asking a series of questions regarding the delay.

The inquiry stated “further delay is unacceptable, and it is critically important that JAG and DOJ move quickly to adjudicate or settle these cases in a transparent, efficient manner. Anything less is an injustice.”

The letter also went to the Secretary of the Navy. Sec. Carlos Del Toro was questioned during an April 27 House Armed Services Committee hearing on the defense budget by NC Rep. Don Davis (D) who relayed the words of U.S. District Judge James Dever.

“He said with the possibility of 1,000,000 cases getting filed, it could take more than 1,000 years to resolve them without streamlining the process… Mr. Secretary, if there’s not a clear timeline then my question is how do we streamline?” Davis asked.

Del Toro replied, “Each case has to be investigated, each case has to be looked at carefully. It’s a matter of law.”

“They believe the Navy has delayed, stonewalled, perhaps even tried to cover up what has happened,” said Davis.

“I can’t speak to the ills of the past, but I accept responsibility for what we do now,” said Del Toro.

North Carolina’s four federal judges, including Chief US District Judge Richard Myers, agree the process needs to be streamlined as outlined by a recent court order.  The order issued April 24 says, in part:

“The court ORDERS those who would like to serve as Plaintiffs’ Leadership Counsel or on

Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee to submit materials to the court not later than May 26, 2023. The materials should identify: (1) the qualifications; (2) the proposed leadership structure; (3) common fund issues; and (4) proposed length of appointments (such as one year, subject to renewal).

Once the court has determined whether and to what extent it will adopt any proposed leadership structure, the court anticipates seeking input from the plaintiffs on creating a master complaint, input from the defendant on a master answer or other responsive pleading to the master complaint, a process for consolidating discovery, a process for phased discovery, a process for coordinating expert-related motions, a process for coordinating dispositive motions, a process for bellwether selection, a process for trials, and a process for settlement negotiations.

As part of the discovery process, the court anticipates formulating an ESI protocol, resolving issues associated with the scope of discovery, seeking input on use of stipulations to streamline discovery, and seeking input on some form of database with narrowly tailored questions seeking case crucial information for each plaintiff and the defendant.”

CBS 17 has also obtained a response from the Department of the Navy to Georgia US Senator Jon Ossoff who made an inquiry for a constituent. It says, in part:

“The Department of the Navy (DON) is committed to resolving all claims related to this matter in a fair and timely manner. All claims will be processed as quickly as possible; however, due to the large amount of claims received, and anticipated to be received in the future, we cannot forecast an expected processing time.”

It goes on to say if the claim is not adjudicated within 6 months from the date the claim was submitted, he can elect to file suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, OR he can elect to allow the Tort Claims Unit (TCU) Norfolk, VA to continue to process the claim.”

Jerry Ensminger believes it’s also incumbent upon the White House to put pressure on the Navy and DOJ to move faster.

“The way the department and Navy and the Department of Justice are responding right now, they’re not acting in the spirit that both the the Congress and the President had in mind whenever they enacted this,” he said.