Internal watchdog to evaluate EPA’s implementation of order allowing Chemours to manufacture GenX

Updated: Sep. 23, 2019 at 5:11 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WECT) - The internal watchdog for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be evaluating the federal agency’s implementation of its consent order allowing DuPont, and later Chemours, to make GenX.

The 2009 order, issued by the EPA under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), requires Chemours to capture or control GenX at an “overall efficiency of 99 percent.”

In the order, the EPA wrote that it had concerns that the chemical would “persist in the environment, could bioaccumulate, and be toxic ... to people, wild mammals, and birds."

The EPA previously said it was investigating whether Chemours has complied with the terms of the agreement. The status of that investigation is not known at this time.

On Monday, the EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), an independent organization that performs audits and investigations of the EPA to detect and prevent fraud, waste and abuse, announced the review in a letter to administrators for the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention as well as its Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

“Our objective is to determine what actions the EPA took to verify compliance with requirements of the 2009 TSCA Premanufacture Notice Consent Order with DuPont [Chemours] to prevent release of the chemical GenX into the Cape Fear River basin,” Jeffrey Harris, director of Toxics, Chemical Management and Pollution Prevention Directorate in the EPA’s Office of Inspector General, wrote in the letter.

Harris’ letter does not provide a timeline for the evaluation but notes it will “improve controls over TSCA Premanufacture Notice Consent Orders.”

In a consent order signed by Chemours and the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality earlier this year, the company agreed to stop all wastewater discharges from its Fayetteville Works facility in Bladen County and agreed to reduce all PFAS air emissions by 99.99 percent by the end of 2019.

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