The Chemours Co. declined a public meeting request in a letter received by Wilmington leaders Friday, according to a New Hanover County news release.
Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo and New Hanover County Commissioners Chairman Woody White sent a joint letter to Chemours on July 19
requesting a meeting that would allow locals to speak with Chemours leaders and ask more questions that they say have been left unanswered about GenX, an unregulated chemical, and related compounds in the area's drinking water supply.
The Chemours response
thanks the local leaders for the invitation to participate in a discussion, but it doesn’t accept the invitation. Instead, the letter invites White and Saffo to its facility.
“As we have offered to other state and regional officials, I would like to invite you and Mayor Saffo, as representatives of your constituents and the leaders of your respective governments, to visit our Fayetteville Works facility to see first-hand the steps we are taking to reduce our environmental footprint,” said Chemours product sustainability director Kathleen O’Keefe in the letter.
White and Saffo said in a joint statement they were disappointed to learn the news.
“We still believe that it is important for Chemours officials to come to the Lower Cape Fear Region to share with our citizens what is being done to rid our water supply of these harmful compounds and to answer questions directly from our citizens on this very important matter,” said the joint statement.
According to the statement, White and Saffo don't plan on accepting the invitation to the Fayetteville facility.
“Chemours did invite us to tour the Fayetteville Works facility; however, we are not interested in a tour. We are interested in having the questions on the minds of our citizens responded to directly,” they said.
The discussion would have addressed the clean-up status of the drinking water supply in the area. White said in a previous Greater Wilmington Business Journal story
that some of the unanswered questions are the information the company has about the chemicals, studies about them and the discharge level of unregulated contaminants by Dupont, another chemical producer from which Chemours spun off.
O’Keefe said in the letter that Chemours has a goal of removing 99 percent of plant-site GenX and other perfluorinated compound emissions in the water and air.
O’Keefe said Chemours is investing $100 million on the clean-up effort and that it has seen significant progress in its emission reduction efforts.