The North Carolina House Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House approved a proposal Wednesday to provide direct regional funding to address the GenX discharge in the Cape Fear River.
The committee approved a final version of House Bill 56 Amend Environmental Laws to respond to the contamination of the chemical GenX in the lower Cape Fear region.
The bill appropriates $435,000 to local utilities and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington for water testing and treatment efforts.
It also initiates the development of an electronic filing database for chemical discharge permits to heighten transparency and accountability of the administration’s process.
It further directs the Department of Environmental Quality to explain why it has not yet issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to Chemours, the company responsible for the contaminant discharge, by September 8, 2017.
An NOV is an initial action to hold violators accountable, potentially requiring them to bear the cost of cleanup resulting from their actions.
The legislation states that the GenX discharge “demonstrates the need for supplemental funding for impacted local public utilities for the monitoring and treatment of GenX and to support the identification and characterization by scientists, engineers, and other professionals of GenX in the Cape Fear River.”
The proposal provides $185,000 to the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority to coordinate with the Pender and Brunswick County utilities for ongoing monitoring, withdrawal, treatment, and distribution of drinking water from the Cape Fear River.
It also provides $250,000 to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington to identify and measure the concentration of the GenX chemical and study what risk the contaminant poses to human health.