New Hanover County lawmakers attend special meeting on GenX

New Hanover County lawmakers attend special meeting on GenX
Clean Water Week marks one year since the public learned about GenX in the water. (Source: WECT)

RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - New Hanover County representatives Holly Grange and Ted Davis were part of a meeting Wednesday afternoon at the General Assembly to discuss ways to address the GenX contamination and the state's plan of action.

Grange and Davis met with other state representatives and senators in House Speaker Tim Moore's office at 2 p.m. after lawmakers reconvened for the short session of the General Assembly at noon.

Republican lawmakers emerged from the meeting encouraged about coming up with a bill that both the state House and Senate could support to address the water quality controversy.

"The House and the Senate are continuing to negotiate and hopefully an agreement can be reached very soon," said Davis (R-New Hanover).

Davis and Grange would not go into specifics about what was discussed in the closed-door meeting.

The House unanimously passed a bill in January to address GenX and other unregulated compounds found in the Cape Fear River, but the bill did not make it through the Senate.

Lawmakers from the Wilmington area said Wednesday they believed a compromise could be reached during the short session.

"We are continuing our negotiations and hope to have resolution by the end of the week," said Grange (R-New Hanover).

Neither Grange nor Davis said when another meeting would take place.

"Senator Michael Lee and I have been working very hard to come up with a bill that both chambers (of the General Assembly) can agree to," Grange said before Wednesday's session began. "I think we need to fund (the Department of Environmental Quality) adequately so that they can, No. 1, eliminate the backlog of permits. That needs to be eliminated because it's just going to snowball.

"We also need to find our research universities because they have the expertise and equipment already. This is a statewide issue. This is not just a Wilmington issue. Water quality is a statewide issue. We want to more than just monitor it. We want to fix the problem."

Earlier this year during a special session, House members agreed to a proposal spending more than $2 million to research and monitor GenX levels, but the Senate did not adopt the measure.

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