Republicans have finally decided to take action on the GenX problem in the Cape Fear River. Unfortunately, in order to clean up the water, they want to repeal the ban on plastic bags. That’s right, if you want clean water well then you have to have a dirty beach. In addition, they are only granting $435,000 which is nowhere close to the $2.6 million requested by Governor Cooper and none of that money is going to the Department Of Environment Quality, whose job it is to ensure our water is clean. Republicans want to use our drinking water as a bargaining chip to pass more deregulation for corporations. Why does the NC legislature to continue to put corporations before people?
Republican legislators tied new funding Wednesday to monitor GenX in the Cape Fear River to a long-discussed repeal of North Carolina’s coastal ban on plastic bags.
The two issues got sewn together in legislation that emerged in the early evening. House Bill 56 also includes provisions to create a new storm damage mitigation fund for the coast, as well as language that takes away some county authority to dictate that garbage collected within county borders also be dumped there.
The bill includes $435,000 in new funding to monitor and study GenX, an unregulated chemical used to make Teflon and other products that has been found in the Cape Fear River. The chemical, which the Chemours plant said it stopped discharging in June, is not fully understood but is part of a family of toxic chemicals.
The bill directs $185,000 to the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority to monitor drinking water and to try to remove the chemical from the water. Another $250,000 is earmarked for the University of North Carolina at Wilmington to measure the concentration of the chemical in river sediments and to otherwise study the chemical.
Gov. Roy Cooper had asked for $2.6 million in funding so the state Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Health and Human Services could monitor GenX in the water and study the health effects of long-term exposure to it. Republican legislators who negotiated this bill Wednesday promised more funding to come, saying this first appropriation is just a start.