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Perry 2018
David Perry for NC House
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GenX and the Environment

Unfortunately, the Libertarian Party has not historically been a strong advocate of our environmental rights. The party, in its zest to rightfully protect our private property rights, has somewhat ignored the basic principle that a property owner does NOT have the right to pollute and posion our shared environmental resources. Thankfully, this is beginning to change. Members of the party, such as myself, now realize that what property owners do on their property can have negative effects on the health and safety of others. We all have individual rights that must be fiercely maintained, but we do not live in a vacuum. We must defend our environmental rights with equal vigor.

Chemours is a child company of Dupont Chemical. They have been operating a chemical plant in Fayetteville, NC for several decades now. Last year we all found out that Chemours has been secretly dumping GenX, a toxic florocarbon, into the Cape Fear river for several decades. Evidence has determined that Chemours conducted internal labaratory research about 10 years ago that demonstrated the growth of tumors in lab rats. However, instead of ceasing to dump this toxic substance into our environment, Chemours buried their research, and did nothing to revise their manufacturing process or reduce discharge of this poison into our environment. Apparently the folks at Chemours made the calculated decision that it would be cheaper to defend and settle an eventual lawsuit than to actually alter their business processes.

A civil lawsuit, filed by Brunswick County, eventually discovered what was going on, and news sources have been reporting on the issue ever since last year. The GenX has completely permeated the air and the well water around the Fayetteville plant, and contaminated the Cape Fear River, and all of its tributaries, all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. Thus negatively affecting the drinking water (and health) of millions of North Carolinians. One would think, that after this had become public, that our state government would act decisively to stop Chemours from discharging any more GenX into our environment. One would think that DEQ would force Chemours to pay for all testing and studies needed to determine the full extent of GenX pollution. One would think that our state government would have vigorously started the cleanup process and forced Chemours to pay for all of it!

Of course, this has not happened in the least! Chemours is still dumping GenX into our enviroment, and all DEQ has managed to do is to engage in an argument with the EPA and Chemours on what an acceptable level of GenX discharge is. The EPA says 70 nanograms per liter of water is safe. DEQ says its 140. Chemours is arrogant enough to say that 70,000 nanograms of GenX is safe to drink. How about ZERO!? Meanwhile, my incumbent Republican opponent Ted Davis, Jr. has been in charge of the House committeee that is supposed to be dealing with this issue. That committee has done nothing to combat the crisis, save to ask taxpayers to foot the bill, in the tune of several millions of dollars, for further tests and studies.

In the meantime, CFPUA, who is in charge of the water supply for Southeastern North Carolina, is going to be spending millions to install new water filtration systems to get the GenX out of the water supply. These new systems will cost $47 million to install, and another $2.7 million annually to operate. Will Chemours, and their parent company Dupont, be paying for this? Of course not! Our crooked General Assembly is allowing CFPUA to increase our water bills in order to pay for these new filtration systems. Our water has been poisoned, and yet we are the ones who are going to be made to pay!

For months I have been proclaiming that DEQ must be transformed into a powerful environmental watchdog group that can force compliance and make polluters pay. As I learn more, however, I am beginning to believe that this transformation might be impossible. Seemingly our DEQ, for decades, has been selling off "poison permits" to large chemical companies like Chemours. Companies have been allowed to dump chemicals that are not strictly prohibited, but still dump certain levels of prohibited chemicals by obtaining a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. If DEQ is corrupt enough to trade off the health of NC citizens for the right price, there may be no saving them.

Once elected, I will carefully consider measures that would truly transform DEQ into the organization it should be. However, I will also seriously consider the possibility of contracting out this service to a private and trusted environmental company or organization. Our health and safety, and our right to live in a clean environment, demand that we pursue this path vigorously.

Note: On May 17, 2018 Democrats in the General Assembly finally proposed new GenX related legislation to deal with this crisis. A few hours later, not to be outdone, Republicans in the General Assembly released thir own version. For my analysis of these two flawed bills, please click here.

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