Cape Fear Area leaders share statements condemning new Chemours ‘good neighbors’ ad

New Hanover and Brunswick County Commission Chairs shared statements on the controversial ad on Thursday.

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A new ad from Chemours praising their work to improve water quality in the Cape Fear River airing on local television stations has been hit with scrutiny from residents and now local leaders.

Earlier this week, area environmentalists called the ad “infuriating.” Now, New Hanover County Commission Chairwoman Julia Olson-Boseman has released a statement bashing the ad and the company’s attempt to repair their image, rather than repair the damage done.

The statement reads as follows.

“Good neighbors take care of each other. We respect each other’s property and strive to help one another.

We certainly wouldn’t knowingly dump poisonous chemicals in our neighbors’ drinking water for decades, reap huge profits and refuse requests to pay to clean up our mess, then go around the neighborhood bragging about how awesome a neighbor we are.

Chemours, which has been running a misleading advertising blitz in recent weeks calling itself a good neighbor because they’ve taken steps to protect the environment, is now doing just that. Let’s be clear: Chemours is the corporate equivalent of the neighbor who plays loud music, blocks your driveway and dumps their garbage on your lawn.

Since the discovery of GenX and other emerging contaminants in our drinking water system became public in 2017, New Hanover County and the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority have pushed Chemours to voluntarily clean up the mess they made.

A good neighbor would have eagerly done so. Chemours instead balked for years and are now only going to be taking steps because, after forceful advocacy by New Hanover County and our partners, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality has included the county on a consent order that forces Chemours to provide testing of private wells and remediation.

A good neighbor would have voluntarily paid for upgrades to drinking water systems to filter out the chemicals they dumped into our environment. Instead, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has undertaken upgrades costing nearly $50 million and are suing Chemours to recover costs.

A good neighbor would have voluntarily taken steps to prevent contamination in the future. They did, as the advertisements suggest, invest in systems to remove pollutants from entering the Cape Fear River. But only after being forced to by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality.

A good neighbor voluntarily and happily turns down the music, moves their car out of your driveway and cleans up the garbage dumped on your lawn. They don’t wait until you’ve called the police to force them to be a better neighbor.

We hope Chemours’ advertising campaign falls on deaf ears, because New Hanover County’s residents know that they are not a good neighbor.”

Brunswick County Commission Chairman Randy Thompson also released a statement on Thursday, saying if the company truly cared about the community they would spend money on resources rather than an ad.

“Like many of you, I have started to see the barrage of advertisements from Chemours, the company responsible—along with DuPont—for putting unknown amounts of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) into our drinking water for decades.

Their newest public relations campaign touts Chemours’ efforts to protect quality of life and the environment by reducing their pollutants—all because they are “good neighbors” and “North Carolina is their home.”

Let’s get a couple of things clear: Chemours is not a friend to North Carolinians. Chemours is not a friend to the residents of Brunswick County.

Did Chemours invest in new technologies to reduce the amount of PFAS contaminants they are putting into the Cape Fear River and the environment? Yes, but only after the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality forced them to do so almost three years ago.

Publicly patting yourself on the back for doing something only because you’re in trouble with the State would be comical if it wasn’t so serious for those of us who live downstream from them. That’s because the new technologies Chemours had to install only prevent more PFAS from escaping their Fayetteville Works Plant. They do nothing to remediate the decades-worth of contaminants that remain in the Cape Fear River—our County’s main source of water.

PFAS compounds like GenX are called “forever chemicals” for a reason. Once put into the environment, they are extremely costly and near impossible to remove. Brunswick County is currently financing and constructing an advanced treatment system to remove them from our drinking water to the tune of more than $160 million.

Chemours is providing no compensation or support for this necessary project, which is why the County filed a lawsuit against them in 2017 to hold them responsible for the millions of dollars we are spending to install this new treatment system. This lawsuit remains active and ongoing.

If Chemours cared so much about being a good neighbor to North Carolinians, they would not have spent decades knowingly putting contaminants into our environment that next to no one knew existed nor how to test for.

If Chemours cared, they would have put safeguards in place decades ago to protect people and the environment from their plant’s contaminants before they came under scrutiny through media-driven exposés and state-mandated consent orders.

And if Chemours really cared, they would voluntarily pay for the expensive water treatment upgrades that utilities like Brunswick County need to remove their contaminants from our drinking water. That is what a good neighbor would do.

But, rather than spending their money on something that would help North Carolinians, Chemours is spending their money on a frivolous, deceiving advertising campaign to make it seem like they are doing something to fix the problems they’ve created and perpetuated.

Chemours might be located in North Carolina, but they are not treating her like a home. And they certainly are not the good neighbors they claim to be.”


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