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GenX: Erin Departs, Battle Goes On

A crowd gathered on 3rd Street at City Hall in Wilmington Saturday morning, to rally against GenX in the water and against Chemours. It came the last day that environmental activist Erin Brockovich and her film crew were in town. Brockovich missed this last scheduled event, where she was to speak, however others spoke loud and clear about this water crisis.

“Hey everybody. Thank you so much for coming to our rally for clean water. My name is Beth Markesino.”

Beth Markesino of the Facebook group Wilmington's Stop Genx in Our Water, organized all of last week’s events for Brockovich.

“We together as a community need to stand united, against Chemours, or any company that will dump any toxic chemical in our waters.” 

“We need to hold anybody and everybody accountable for this.”

She spoke on the steps of city hall to about 40 people.

“The Cape Fear River is about three blocks behind you. Do you guys know whose river that is? That’s our river. It’s the peoples river it’s not ‘some’ peoples river it’s every persons river.”

Kemp Burdette is the Cape Fear River Keeper.

“And I’m also here with Clean Cape Fear, a group of concerned citizens including scientists, business people, faith leaders, and educators and advocates, who reacted immediately to this issue and made it our mission to share information about GenX, factual, clear concise information so that our community can do everything in our power to make this problem go away.”

Deborah Dicks Maxwell was also on hand. She’s the president of the New Hanover County NAACP.

“I had the opportunity to meet people from Flint, Michigan, when I went to the national convention last month. We are in a much better place and state than those individuals. We have the opportunity to come together to make a change.” 

“We also are encouraging you if you go to a house of faith you make sure that everyone is aware of this … because there are still a lot of people in this area who are not aware of what is happening.”

Peter Hermann spoke about children. His daughter Abby has an extremely rare form of kidney cancer. More than fifty families belong to Hermann’s group, the Wilmington Childhood Cancer Support Group.

“When Abby was diagnosed, another four year old in our area was also diagnosed with the same kidney cancer. The reason I am standing here today is to express our deep concern, about the presence of the toxin GenX and C8 in our water supply, and we are demanding changes.

Kemp Burdette.

“DuPont and Chemours poisoned our water, the water I drank my whole life. The water my mother drank while she carried me. The water my two little girls have drank their whole life. And I am mad as hell.”

“If we can look inside a single atom, or see light-years across the universe, then we can treat industrial waste in our water.”

Again, Beth Markesino.

“We need to bring this to the White House, we have to bring this to the state level, and the city level. This is going to be a long process.”

The comments from some of the speakers at Saturday’s rally, in Wilmington.

This week, members of the North Carolina General Assembly will be in town to discuss regulatory issues and learn more about the current situation with the Cape Fear River. They will also tour the Sweeney Water Treatment Plant, on Wednesday.