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GenX: HB 56 Into Law, But What About Gov. Cooper's Proposal?

Vince Winkel
Citizens hold signs protesting GenX and Chemours from the balcony at Wilmington City Hall in June.

House Bill 56 is now law. That means UNCW and the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority get $435,000 in state funding to address GenX contamination in the water. The bill got though after the North Carolina General Assembly overrode Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of the bill. But what about the $2.6 million the Governor had requested for two state agencies to work on the GenX issue? 

In August Gov. Cooper requested $2.6 million for perpetual monitoring for GenX, the restoration of 16 regulator positions to the Department of Environmental Quality and the formation of a water safety unit at the Department of Health and Human Services. He never got an answer from the General Assembly.

So now that House Bill 56 is on the books, with funding for the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority and UNC Wilmington, is the Governor’s request a moot point?

Representative Deb Butler, a Democrat, thinks so.

“Its clear to me that the House Republicans are determined to make sure that our duly elected Governor doesn’t have a victory even at the expense of clean water. And that is such a shame. The money is available. We have $500 million unappropriated dollars that can be used to adequately staff our watchdog agencies. And they will not do it.”

New Hanover County Commissioner Woody White and his Republican colleagues on the Board support House Bill 56, not the Governor’s proposal.

“Just giving that money to DEQ today would not have hired people, would not have done the things that this bill did, which was immediately place money at UNCW and CFPUA to deal with the crisis right now.”