May 17, 2018

House and Senate Republicans from southeastern North Carolina want Gov. Roy Cooper to close the Chemours chemical manufacturing plant by June if operators don’t stop polluting public waterways with the GenX chemical compound.

That action would be possible under companion bills filed in both chambers Thursday, May 17.

GenX pollution has been a political lightning rod with growing election year significance. Cooper and fellow Democrats complain majority Republicans haven’t done enough to study and stop the release of the chemical.

Cooper made specific reference to GenX cleanup when he unveiled his $24.5 billion budget for 2018-19 on May 10. He budgeted $14.5 million to the departments of Environmental Quality, and Health and Human Services to research and protect air and drinking water, combat emerging contaminants like GenX, and upgrade the state’s outdated permitting system.

“This plan accomplishes our immediate goal of addressing water quality in southeastern North Carolina, and puts the tools in place to help protect North Carolinians from GenX and other emerging compounds going forward,” they said.

Chemours, whose parent company is DuPont, is the subject of a class action lawsuit filed by residents living along the Cape Fear River.

But the twin bills filed Thursday are the first legislative proposals to hold Chemours financially responsible for discharging GenX into the public water supply. Cooper could shut down the company’s operations if DEQ can’t stop the pollution.

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