Local organizations respond to recent Chemours ‘good neighbor’ ads

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Backlash has been on the rise in response to recent ads being run by Chemours, praising their work to improve water quality in the Cape Fear River.

Ever since the so-called “forever chemicals” were first brought to light in 2017, many Cape Fear residents have been worried about the quality of the water supply.

But the recent ‘good neighbor’ campaign by Chemours has introduced a different kind of concern for many people.

Kenneth Waldroup with CFPUA feels Chemours is only going as far as a 2019 consent order forces them to, saying it takes more than what is currently being done to make Chemours a good neighbor.

“If Chemours truly wants to be a good neighbor, they have to go beyond what they were required to do under the consent order, and address decades of pollution and the consequences of that pollution their neighbors are having to manage,” Waldroup said.

He says residents aren’t only having to deal with a contaminated water supply but also the financial ramifications of the pollution.

“We’re spending 43 million dollars in new treatment technologies to address PFAS contamination today,” Waldroup said.

Waldrop points out that the new technologies will allow more than 90 percent of contaminants to begin being removed this year, but feels Chemours should be footing the bill, not those in the Cape Fear.

WWAY reached out the Chemours, but they declined our request for an interview.

They did, however, release the following statement:

“Chemours has done a significant amount of work to reduce emissions and complete remediation activity at our Fayetteville site in the past four years. These messages in our ad campaign are meant to keep the public informed about the work we are doing—exactly the type of information our communities around the plant and downstream—including your viewers—have asked us about. Our goal to reduce PFAS emissions by 99% is part of our Corporate Responsibility Commitment announced in 2018 to reduce fluorinated organic compound emissions from our manufacturing process. We know of no other company that has made a similar commitment. Chemours has worked closely with our state regulatory agencies throughout these four years, including entering a Consent Order, and that work sets a high bar for our company and our manufacturing processes. In fact, we are currently designing and beginning construction for an in-ground barrier wall along the Cape Fear River next to our site; that wall is planned to be a mile long and six stories deep into the ground to help keep compounds from reaching the river. We are one of many contributors along the Cape Fear River system – the largest river system in the state. Chemours is doing our part to improve the river and we hope others will as well.”

Dana Sargent with Cape Fear River Watch feels Chemours hasn’t put enough effort into helping to solve the issue and says the ads are making an already frustrating situation worse.

“For them to come out now and actually brag about their work to clean up their mess is infuriating,” Sargent said.

Instead of cleaning up pollutants, Sargent feels Chemours is focused on addressing something else.

“I think this is some sort of tactic to clean up their reputation,” Sargent said. “They’ve had 50 years of an opportunity to do that. And they’ve failed.”

 

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