Lawsuit Filed to Immediately Stop GenX Pollution from Chemours Fayetteville Facility
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—On behalf of Cape Fear River Watch, the Southern Environmental Law Center today filed suit in New Hanover County Superior Court arguing that the Department of Environmental Quality should use its existing authority to require Chemours to stop immediately all emissions and discharges of GenX and chemically related compounds from its Fayetteville Works Facility. On June 15, DEQ denied Cape Fear River Watch’s request for declaratory ruling asking the agency to use its authority to stop pollution from Chemours’ facility, yet affirmed that Chemours and DuPont have caused widespread air and water pollution and immediate action is necessary to protect public health. Now the groups are appealing that denial in court.
“The state needs to stop immediately Chemours’ toxic pollution of the air and water that families and communities from Fayetteville to Wilmington depend on,” said Geoff Gisler, senior attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center. “Every day that goes by, Chemours puts more toxic pollution into the air and water that accumulates in our rivers, land, and groundwater. Chemours’ harmful pollution must end now.”
In its filing, SELC argues that DEQ has the authority and obligation to order Chemours to halt its release of toxic perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, including GenX, because the company’s ongoing contamination of air and water is causing imminent danger to people’s health and public safety. DEQ is required by law to act in times of emergency to protect the health and safety of people.
“The people of North Carolina depend on DEQ to protect our health and safety in times of emergency,” said Dana Sargent, president of the Cape Fear River Watch Board of Directors. “This is one of those times.”
Chemours and DuPont knowingly polluted North Carolina’s water sources with toxic PFAS compounds for nearly four decades, causing widespread and dangerous contamination of groundwater and surface waters. After a year of investigation, Chemours continues to emit GenX and other PFAS compounds into the water, air, and soil through its stack emissions, leaking pipes, ditches and unlined, leaking pits.
Families and communities have already been exposed to decades of toxic contamination. DEQ has now found GenX in 763 private drinking water wells up to 5.5 miles away from the Chemours’ facility, and in the rainwater, fish, and honey.
For more than 30 years, the Southern Environmental Law Center has used the power of the law to champion the environment of the Southeast. With over 70 attorneys and nine offices across the region, SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast’s foremost environmental organization and regional leader. SELC works on a full range of environmental issues to protect our natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region. www.SouthernEnvironment.org