Activists, special interests call state investigation on GenX “partisan blame game”

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) –  Activist groups are concerned that removing gen-x from our drinking water has become a political issue.

Local groups joined the Raleigh special interest group Progress NC Action over the issue of when did former Governor Pat McRory know about Gen-X. They revealed an email thread that was sent last November to several department of environmental quality staffers. The email does not show the governor’s office was directly informed.

“It boils down to partisan Raleigh politics as usual,” says Gerrick Brenner at the news conference.

The email thread alerted the environmental department of the chemical compound. It was sent by NC State professor Detlef Knappe. The main message of the news conference was to challenge lawmakers in the Republican leadership to look into it.

“The legislature at this point is involved in a partisan blame game and it’s not serving the public,” says Brenner with the group Progress NC Action.

Local lawmakers we heard from plan to look into the email as well as a long list of other instances surrounding the chemical discharges into the Cape Fear River by Chemours.

“We will be looking into the entire timeline starting thirty seven years ago when the first permit was issued under the Hunt administration,” says Brunswick County Republican Representative Frank Iler.

The latest regulations bill giving money to UNCW and the CFPUA instead of to the DEQ also has lawmakers and activists claiming the issue is becoming political.

“What are they going to do for us? They’ve lost my trust,” says Women Organizing or Wilmington member Stacey McPherson talking about CFPUA.

“We need subpoena power, the power of the police, the power of the investigation and those regulatory agencies have that. Cape Fear Public Utility Authority does not have that,” says New Hanover County state Representative Deb Butler.

“DEQ is asking for two and a half million dollars, well you have to ask the question, we didn’t do the job with two hundred and twenty eight million in the current budget,” says Rep. Iler.

Representative Iler says ensuring clean drinking water will be a collective effort from government. His Democratic colleague Deb Butler thinks now with Chris Millis leaving office vacating a space on the House committee investigating GenX, lawmakers can prove water quality is not partisan politics.

“If you truly say that water is a bipartisan issue, it’s proving not to be by the way but if you think that can be the case and it should be the case. Why not put everybody who’s got the energy and the desire to do the work,” Rep. Butler asks.

Representative Butler informed us today that she heard from the Speaker’s office. They tell her they are reviewing her request to fill in Millis’ vacated seat for the committee.

Categories: Brunswick, Local, New Hanover, News

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