A coalition of lawmakers in the House and Senate from southeastern North Carolina announced Thursday two pieces of identical legislation introduced in both chambers aimed at holding companies that allow GenX to pollute our state to be held financially accountable.
The legislation would give the governor the power to shut down companies that release pollutants under a set of requirements, if all of those requirements are met.
Those four requirements are:
- The facility has a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.
- The facility has received more than one notice of violation from the department within a two-year period.
- The department has determined that the facility has had unauthorized discharges of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) into the air, surface water, and groundwater and these discharges have resulted in the violation of federal drinking water standards or health goals established by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
- The department has been unable to stop all further unauthorized discharges from the facility that may result in the violation of federal drinking water standards or health goals established by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services within one year from the time the department first learned of the unauthorized discharges.”
“We are pleased the House and Senate worked together to come up with a comprehensive plan that will help stop the pollution of our water supply, provide our families, neighbors and constituents access to clean, safe water and finally hold Chemours responsible for its pollution,” the bill’s authors said in a joint statement. “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.”
The Senate version of the bill was filed by Sens. Michael Lee (R-New Hanover), Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick) and Wesley Meredith (R-Cumberland) while Reps. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover), Holly Grange (R-New Hanover), Frank Iler (R-Brunswick) and William Brisson (R-Bladen) filed the bill in the House.
The legislation is intended to help ensure their constituents “have access to clean, safe drinking water and to extend efforts to remove GenX pollution from public water supplies.”
Lawmakers say that their proposal is the first that would hold Chemours financially responsible for its actions.
The bill would also create a pathway to require the companies responsible for contaminating wells with perflourinated compounds responsible for providing them with a permanent alternative source of drinking water.
The legislation also provides more than $10 million for university scientists and state regulators to keep researching the amount of GenX and other emerging contaminants in public water supplies, to determine the impact those chemicals could have on public health and safety and to develop a plan to mitigate them statewide.
The bill also provides additional funding to the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority to test a technology to treat its groundwater supply and replicate this water treatment technology in other parts of the state.
The bill also provides for grant funding in the amount of $2 million to help local governments expedite the extension of municipal water lines to homes with impacted wells and would also require that the companies responsible for dumping the chemical would reimburse the state for any