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Local Nonprofit Group Holds Community Forum On GenX

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Jun 20, 2017
Talks about GenX in Wilmington will continue during a community forum organized by Cape Fear River Watch.

The forum is scheduled to take place at the Coastline Conference and Event Center 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, with a panel of experts to “clarify the facts about GenX,” according Cape Fear River Watch, a nonprofit organization and local advocacy group working to protect and improve the water quality of the Lower Cape Fear River Basin.

GenX is an emerging chemical contaminant not regulated by the EPA that was found in the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority’s water supply and tied Chemours Company, which has operations about 71 miles north of Wilmington on the Cape Fear River at the 2,150-acre Fayetteville Works site.

The community forum takes place after a closed discussion about GenX last Thursday between local and state officials and Chemours, which agreed to meet in Wilmington. New Hanover County and Wilmington officials after the meeting called on Chemours to stop the emerging contaminant from reaching the Cape Fear River.

The next day, the CFPUA board passed two resolutions involving GenX. The first resolution calls on Chemours to “remove the compound entirely” from the Cape Fear River. The second allows CFPUA to take legal action if the request is not honored.

CFPUA Board Chairman Mike Brown in an update Tuesday called upon surrounding utilities to support the CFPUA board’s resolutions or pass similar resolutions. The utility company also submitted public records requests to the EPA and NCDEQ.

A N.C. Department of Environmental Quality investigation into GenX is underway, as water sampling and testing began this week, according to the CFPUA. The CFPUA board is holding a special meeting on GenX on Thursday.

Former mayor of Wilmington Harper Peterson is scheduled to moderate the Cape Fear River Watch forum Wednesday, when several experts will answer questions and provide information to the community. Cape Fear Riverkeeper Kemp Burdette will be among panelists for discussion.

Other forum panelists include:
  • Lawrence Cahoon, professor at UNCW and biological oceanographer
  • Susanne Brander, professor at UNCW and ecotoxicologist
  • Adam Wagner, StarNews reporter
  • John F. Green II, attorney
  • David Hill, pediatrician at Kidz Care Pediatrics
Efforts are underway to form a coalition of citizens, community stakeholders, professionals and educators called Clean Cape Fear, according to a Cape Fear River Watch news release Tuesday. 
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