Bladen County is considering suing the state of North Carolina.
Last Friday, a Bladen County judge issued a partial consent order between the NC Department of Environmental Quality and the Chemours Company, which discharged GenX into the Cape Fear River at its Fayetteville Works site. The potential lawsuit would stop any enforcement action to shut down operations against Chemours.
County Commissioner Charles Ray Peterson says the county is still considering action if it needs to protect jobs for people in Bladen County.
According to Peterson, the Chemours plant in Fayetteville employs around 500 Bladen County residents.
"We're going to protect our industry," Peterson said. "We're going to stand up and do what we think is right and if it takes legal action against the state of North Carolina, then we're certainly willing to do that. As long as the water is safe, we can move forward and feel good about it."
Bladen County does not get its water from the portion of the Cape Fear River that was contaminated by Chemours, which dumped GenX and other chemicals into the river.
Peterson said because the levels of GenX are below the NC Department of Health and Human Services' maximum levels, the state should not pursue action to shut down Chemours.
"The state is saying the water is safe to drink," he said. "That's what we've been told. We have 500 families up there. I'm a retired ex-Duponter and I got friends up there and they have families. It's a good paying job. The future of Bladen County and the future of the state of North Carolina in terms of industrial growth is at stake as far as I'm concerned."
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