Commentary

Editorial: “Enough is enough”; It’s time to shut down Chemours factory that makes GenX

In its lead editorial this morning, the Wilmington Star News calls on state leaders to shut down the Chemours chemical operation that sits at the heart of the state’s GenX water pollution crisis. Here are some excerpts:

“As much as we’ve wailed and gnashed teeth over the industrial chemical GenX in our drinking water, we said from the outset we did not want to see Chemours shut down.

But because of the chemical giant’s apparent inability to contain fluorochemical compounds, state officials must take whatever measures are necessary to immediately shut down any Fayetteville Works operations that are resulting in illegal discharges into the Cape Fear River….

Chemours assured state and local officials that the chemicals would be contained in a closed-loop system, with the leftovers shipped out of state for proper disposal. What has become evident, however, is that the plants at the Fayetteville Works site (they share wastewater systems) are not capable of keeping fluorochemical compounds out of the river.

That said, when it meets tonight at 6:30 we expect that the Wilmington City Council will join with the New Hanover County commissioners and CFPUA board and request that the state require that ‘all tenants of the Fayetteville Works site cease operations that result in the production of fluorochemical compounds, due to their inability to operate without discharging fluorochemical compounds into the Cape Fear River.’

We encourage every governing body in our region, along with every civic and business organization, nonprofit group and house of worship to endorse the same resolution and convey it by certified mail to the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, the governor, and to each of the region’s state legislators.

Shutting down those manufacturing processes is the only option we see at this time. Later, if the plants can get their acts together and follow the law, they would be welcome to come back and apply for the proper permit. Until then, they have no right to continue to foul our water….

Chemours has demonstrated that it either cannot or will not do right by the people of Southeastern North Carolina. Therefore, we are no longer expecting or asking the company to act.

It’s now completely up to state leaders to perform their fundamental duty of protecting North Carolina’s citizens, which means using whatever means necessary to shut down the specific operations that are damaging our quality of life, likely hurting our economy, and — we will assume until proven otherwise — harming our health.

Since 1999, DuPont’s slogan has been ‘The miracles of science.’ This one increasingly overdue action doesn’t require a miracle, and it’s not rocket science: stop the operations that are polluting our water.

Enough is enough.

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