Local leaders among those to speak at river quality meeting

Local leaders among those to speak at river quality meeting

RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - Local officials will be among the presenters at a meeting about GenX Thursday in Raleigh.

The House Select Committee on North Carolina River Quality released its first meeting agenda Wednesday. Presentations are expected from state agencies, local utilities and university researchers regarding GenX contamination in the Cape Fear River.

"I appreciate the dedication of Chairman Ted Davis to develop a thorough fact-finding agenda for the first meeting of the House Select Committee on North Carolina River Quality," House Speaker Tim Moore said in a Wednesday news release. "Our investigation is focused on uncovering as much information as possible to protect the people of the Cape Fear region from the GenX contamination."

Thursday's meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday in Room 643 of the Legislative Office Building in Raleigh.

The Wilmington-area speakers are:

  • Mike Brown, chairman of the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority board
  • Frank Styers, CFPUA chief operations officer
  • Rep. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover County), senior committee chairman
  • Rep. Frank Iler (R-Brunswick County), committee co-chair
  • Rep. Holly Grange (R-New Hanover County), committee co-chair
  • Mark Lanier, assistant to the chancellor at UNCW
  • Dr. Ralph Mead, professor in department of chemistry and biochemistry at UNCW

"The agenda for our initial meeting continues the process of obtaining information necessary to address numerous questions from citizens concerning the quality of their drinking water," Davis said. "This committee will continue to meet so that additional legislation can hopefully be recommended for the House to act upon and successfully address as many concerns as possible of our constituents throughout the state."

Brown and Styers will discuss HB 56, an act to amend environmental laws which Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed on Sept. 21.

Sheila Holman, assistant secretary of environment at the Department of Environmental Quality, is slated to outline the regulatory history of the Chemours Fayetteville Works facility, which is where GenX was discharged into the Cape Fear.

Mead will present a plan to potentially study GenX with funding provided by the state General Assembly.

Mark Benton, deputy secretary for health services at the Department of Health and Human Services, and Zack Moore, epidemiology section chief at the Division of Public Health within DHHS, will also talk about the presence and health effects of GenX and related compounds in the lower Cape Fear River basin.

Tracy Skrabal, coastal scientist and manager of the Southeast Regional Office of the North Carolina Coastal Federation, and Dr. Lee Ferguson, associate professor at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University, will conclude the meeting with presentations on state and federal regulations related to emerging compounds. 
  
The state General Assembly's joint Environmental Review Commission met in Wilmington on Aug. 18, 2017, and Moore appointed the House Select Committee on North Carolina River Quality on Aug. 31, 2017.

The House Select Committee on North Carolina River Quality plans to meet again in October.

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