North Carolina Groups Call on EPA Administrator Regan to ‘Protect Our Communities’ and Grant PFAS Testing Petition
CONTACT: Emily DiFrisco, (510) 655-3900 x 307 firstname.lastname@example.org
WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina community groups today wrote a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan seeking his assurance that EPA will live up to his commitment to “protect our communities from PFAS and to hold polluters accountable.”
In announcing EPA’s PFAS Roadmap in Raleigh, North Carolina, on October 11, Administrator Regan acknowledged the ”decades of unchecked devastation” that Cape Fear communities have suffered because the Chemours ’ PFAS plant in Fayetteville “has been polluting our air and our water with these ‘forever’ chemicals since the 1970s.”
In their letter, the groups said that Regan’s promise to address this PFAS pollution, “[n]ot with empty rhetoric, but with real solutions” requires EPA to direct Chemours under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to fund comprehensive research to determine the health impacts of years of environmental contamination in the Cape Fear basin.
“As our neighbors and family members battle unexplained and serious disorders, they have many ‘lingering questions’ about the impact of historical, current, and future PFAS pollution on their health and what they and their doctors should do to recognize and treat the symptoms of PFAS-related illness and disease,” wrote the groups. “These questions cannot be answered today because there are little or no health effects data on the hundreds of PFAS released by Chemours that have contaminated air, surface water, drinking water sources, groundwater and the local food supply in the Cape Fear basin.”
These realities are why the groups petitioned EPA under section 21 of TSCA in October 2020 to use its authority to require Chemours to conduct testing on 54 PFAS released to the environment from its Fayetteville facility. The petition was denied by the Trump EPA. The new EPA leadership has now agreed to grant or deny the petition by the end of this year; the groups and the community-at-large are closely watching to see what EPA does.
The six groups are: Center for Environmental Health, Cape Fear River Watch, Clean Cape Fear, Democracy Green, the NC Black Alliance, and Toxic Free NC.
“We are confident Administrator Regan is a man of his word and will keep his promise to “do whatever it takes to hold polluters accountable” by granting this petition in full – which puts the burden of PFAS health testing on the polluter – not taxpayers,” said Dana Sargent, Executive Director of Cape Fear River Watch
“We are pleased Administrator Regan publicly and forcefully announced polluting companies will receive testing orders from the EPA,” said Emily Donovan of Clean Cape Fear. “We plan to keep a close eye on if these orders include all the requests from our NC TSCA petition.”
“For decades, our communities have suffered silently from PFAS contaminated water. All the while, polluting corporations have continued to profit from our pain. Our dedicated team of community groups, legal counsel, and scientists have provided EPA with the tools to clearly and swiftly act to save our people. It’s straightforward: approve our petition, clean up our communities and make the polluter pay,” said La’Meshia Whittington, NC Black Alliance.
“North Carolina communities deserve to understand the health impacts of decades of exposure to ‘forever chemical’ contamination by Chemours. By granting our petition, EPA can demonstrate the strength of its commitment—and its responsibility—to hold polluters accountable and gather the data we need to protect our health,” said Alexis Luckey, Toxic Free NC.