Cape Fear River Watch and an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center this week addressed their decision to join a proposed consent order between Chemours and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. They answered questions from citizens during a meeting Wednesday at UNCW’s Lumina Theater.
The consent order announced the night before Thanksgiving would require Chemours to pay a $12 million penalty and also clean up air pollution, groundwater discharge and other PFAS contamination at the Fayetteville facility.
Since the announcement, several local officials have questioned the order. New Hanover County Commissioner Woody White sent a letter to county staff and commissioners saying that nobody discussed the agreement with New Hanover County or the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority for feedback, and the order doesn’t deal with previous discharges from Chemours.
Cape Fear Riverkeeper Kemp Burdette addressed that at Wednesday’s meeting.
“This is the first step. This is stopping the source of contaminants. There's going to be a lot more. There are going to be class action lawsuits to try to get people who have been harmed compensated. There are going to be a lawsuits to pay for the filtration at the public utility side. There are going to be other things. There could be things that happen that we don't know about. You know, DuPont is not part of this consent order. Somebody could decide to go after DuPont for damages.”
Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Geoff Gisler elaborated further on the purpose of this order.
“So the order is designed to deal with the unknowns in that it requires a company to continually test for air and water based PFAS chemicals and the, the conditions that are put in place. There are a few that are limited GenX, but, most include all PFAS. So it's not, it's not limited to GenX, it's not limited to the specific chemicals that are listed in parts of the order.”
DEQ is taking public comment on the consent order until December 21.
Comments to DEQ on the proposed order will be accepted until Dec. 21. Comments can be submitted electronically to email@example.com or mailed to Assistant Secretary’s office, RE: Chemours Public Comments 1601 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1601.
A copy of the proposed order is available on DEQ’s website at: https://files.nc.gov/ncdeq/GenX/Consent-order-11212018.pdf.
More information about the state’s investigation can be found at: https://deq.nc.gov/news/hot-topics/genx-investigation.