Senate Select Committee discusses GenX

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Senate Select Committee holds meeting on river water quality (Photo: Kirsten Gutierrez/WWAY)

RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — North Carolina’s Senate Select Committee held a meeting Tuesday afternoon regarding river water quality in our state, specifically GenX and what is being done to understand the compound and it’s impact on the Cape Fear River.

Last week the House Committee heard from UNCW and Cape Fear Public Utility Authority about their plans to get answers about the compound. Today, the Senate Select Committee stepped up to the plate in hopes of bringing attention to the funding many said our community needs.

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“The really important testing, bioaccumulation, and some of those other important issues to our area, our fishing industry and also the state of North Carolina really needs to happen and it needs to happen now,” Sen., Michael Lee said.

The Senate Select Committee heard from UNCW and CFPUA about what has been done since the discovery of GenX and what they are doing now to ensure the water is safe.

“We’re funding their research right now,” CFPUA Executive Director, Jim Flechtner said. “So they can answer the question that’s on everybodys mind. And that is what else is in the river? And do I need to be concerned about it?”

A major question discussed today, how will House Bill 56 affect future studies being conducted if Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto is not overturned.

Flechtner said they will find a way to get the information everyone has been asking for. However, that means rates for customers would increase, a move both Flechtner and Sen. Lee are against.

“The cost of this should not be born by the rate payers in our area,” Lee said. “This is a state failure in the regulatory process that’s been going on for 37 years and it should not be placed on the backs of the rate payers and the citizens of the multiple counties that are served by the Cape Rear River basin to pay for it.”

“I don’t believe our customers should be paying for this. This is an expense that is brought about because of the unknowns in the river. But right now, our option is to move forward and get those answers. And we need to know the answers to those questions,” Flechtner said.

Another highlight of the meeting was an update on digitizing data.

“One of the most important pieces of this puzzle is really getting all the data with the respect to all the environmental permitting online. So we have a transparent system that everyone can look at, view, and see,” Lee said.

Chemours was asked to attend today’s meeting but they refused. A Chemours spokesmen told senators they would be meeting up with Gov. Cooper later this week. However, the Governor’s office says there is no planned meeting.

To see CFPUA’s presentation, click here.

To see UNCW’s presentation, click here.