NC environmental leader on requests to stop production of GenX: 'I share the frustration'

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Michael Regan, secretary for the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), responded to questions on Wednesday about how DEQ is responding to city, county, and water utility demands that state regulators force Fayetteville Works tenants, including Chemours, to stop manufacturing the family of compounds that includes GenX.

CFPUA, the City of Wilmington, and New Hanover County have all passed separate but similar resolutions in recent weeks imploring DEQ to force the three companies that occupy the Fayetteville Works site located along the Cape Fear River near the Bladen-Cumberland county line to stop producing all fluorochemical compounds, including GenX.

Asked what DEQ will do in response to these demands, Regan said:

"I share the frustration. This company has not done as well as it should by our citizens. What we have done is we have suspended their permit. This company is not actively discharging into the Cape Fear River. What we are focused on now are the air emissions that are coming from this facility. We are closely tracking these air emissions and we are calculating our next step based on that analysis that we should receive soon."

When asked follow-up questions about whether air emissions and evidence of other recent contamination are enough for DEQ to take stronger action against Chemours, Regan responded:

"DEQ – we must follow the law, and we have to follow the regulations that are on the books. And we are doing that. That's not to say that we're giving this company a pass because we are laser-focused on this company, we are continuing to gather evidence, and based on where the evidence takes us, that's the action that we'll take."

Later, Regan discussed the need for a law that will provide DEQ with funds for monitoring, testing, and research.

"We need for the Senate to adopt the bill that the House passed unanimously," he said. "Again, this was a modest first step to give the agency resources, basic resources to begin to truly analyze not only GenX, but how this state wants to handle emerging chemical compounds."

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