Legislature adjourns as no compromise made to fund research on GenX

RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) –  Four recent spills at the Chemours Fayetteville plant has the state Department of Environmental Quality issuing another violation on the company. It comes as lawmakers stall on approving funding for Gen-X research.

The Governor and House members frustrated with the Senate.

Governor Roy Cooper rips into lawmakers who left Raleigh without a compromise to research GenX and other contaminants in the Cape Fear river.

“Legislators are going home after doing nothing to protect clean drinking water for NC families,” said the Governor in part on Twitter Tuesday as the House adjourned.

Both chambers passed bills regarding Gen-X research, though not as the bill’s creator would have liked.

“The senate took it and completely gutted it and replaced it,” Republican Ted Davis of New Hanover County said.

If you’d like to know what the original version said, look here.

The Senate, from the beginning was not sold on Republican Ted Davis’ legislation.

“I support everything we can to provide clean water to my constituents, neighbors and family. I personally have serious concerns about the legislation as it does absolutely nothing to provide clean water to our citizens and may lead people to think otherwise,” Senator Michael Lee said when we asked him for comment on the House passage of HB 189 back in January.

Senate President Pro Temp Phillip Berger also said it was not on his priority list ending the long session.

“I am willing to sit down with any Senator at anytime and discuss the differences between the House bill and the Senate to see if we can come up with some type of resolution,” said Rep. Davis.

Republican Senator Mike Lee introduced the revised bill as the Water Safety Act. Unlike Davis’ bill, it takes funding away from the DEQ. Requesting universities to use their technology and experts to research Gen-X instead of doing that through the DEQ.

It provides funding to the State Policy Collaboratory to oversee that work. It asks the DEQ to allocate more than $2 million to those efforts. No funding will go to the department.

Sen. Lee did add an amendment in the final voting for $813,000 go to the division of Water Resources to study air and water quality that may contain GenX.

“People in the Cape Fear region have a right to be angry that legislative leaders have failed to do their duty,” said Governor Cooper who’s full statement on the legislature adjourning is below.

“It’s disgraceful that after months of stalling, Republican legislators have gone home without doing anything to protect clean drinking water for North Carolina families. State environmental experts continue to hold Chemours accountable and are using all available resources to track the spread of GenX, and the latest notice of violation announced today shows the urgency. People in the Cape Fear region have a right to be angry that legislative leaders have failed to do their duty and give state scientists the tools they need to deal with GenX and other emerging contaminants.”

Now that both chambers are heading home until May, the only way they’d come back to pass funding for research would be if a special session is called

Chairman Davis says that will not happen unless they can come to an agreement on the bill.

“They’ve went home, so nobody is willing to sit down and negotiate at this point.”

Our Andrew James reached out to Senate President Phillip Berger, Senator Bill Rabon, and Senator Michael Lee for comment. Lee’s office told us he was out of the state on family matters and could not comment. Berger’s office told us he was not available. Sen. Rabon requested we get comment from him on a later day.

Categories: Brunswick, Local, New Hanover, News, Pender

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