Feds subpoena records from DEQ on chemical release in Cape Fear River

Posted August 3

— The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina issued a subpoena to the state Department of Environmental Quality on July 28. The subpoena requests that, by Aug. 22, DEQ provide to a grand jury in Wilmington the records and documents, including permits, environmental compliance information, reports, emails, research and notes, related to the Chemours Co.’s Fayetteville Works facility, GenX and other fluorinated chemicals.

“DEQ will provide all relevant records about Chemours as part of this ongoing federal investigation,” said Jamie Kritzer, a DEQ spokesman. “We are pleased that federal authorities are taking this matter seriously as we continue our own investigation into Chemours and the issues surrounding GenX and the other unregulated chemical compounds.”

In June, Gov. Roy Cooper directed DEQ and the state Department of Health and Human Services to launch an investigation into Chemours’ discharge of GenX into the Cape Fear River, which is a drinking water source for Wilmington and surrounding communities. Last week, Cooper directed the State Bureau of Investigation’s Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit to assess whether a criminal investigation is warranted in this case.

Cooper and his administration were successful in getting Chemours to stop the release of GenX. Since then, the levels of GenX in finished drinking water from the Cape Fear River continue to be below the state’s public health goal and have been trending downward. DEQ continues to sample and test the water frequently to monitor levels of GenX.

On Monday, Cooper announced the expansion of a state science panel to help guide state officials on ways to better protect public health and the environment from new or unregulated chemicals such as GenX.


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