U.S. court dismisses Puerto Ricans' suit over arms testing
(Reuters) - Puerto Rican residents lost a bid on Tuesday to force the U.S. government to recognize the health effects on the local population of testing of weapons and experimenting with chemicals on the island of Vieques for decades.
A U.S. appeals court in Boston ruled that the federal government has immunity from any lawsuit over its actions.
For about six decades after World War II, the U.S. Navy used a portion of Vieques as a weapons-testing ground and firing range, detonating bombs and experimenting with chemicals from napalm to Agent Orange and depleted uranium. The military abandoned the base in 2003 under political pressure.
Juanita Sanchez, a resident of the island, sued on behalf of her daughter and some 7,000 others in 2007. The suit accused the U.S. military of causing illnesses among inhabitants, including a 30 percent higher cancer rate compared to Puerto Rico's main island.