EPA’s PFAS Roadmap includes path forged by fight to stop Chemours pollution in North Carolina

Statement by lead SELC attorney in litigation against Chemours’ PFAS Pollution in North Carolina

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CHAPEL HILL — Following EPA’s announcement of its PFAS Roadmap Monday in Raleigh, the Southern Environmental Law Center released a statement by Geoff Gisler, senior attorney and leader of the Clean Water Program at the Southern Environmental Law Center who led litigation against Chemours in North Carolina to stop GenX and other PFAS pollution.

SELC’s litigation under existing laws led to a consent order among Cape Fear River Watch, the state and Chemours to stop at least 99% of PFAS pollution that contaminated drinking water supplies for about 300,000 people in communities along the Cape Fear River.

“EPA’s Roadmap charts a course to important new protections while using existing authority to protect families and communities plagued by PFAS pollution,” Gisler said. “We have seen in North Carolina that when permitting agencies require industrial polluters to comply with existing laws, PFAS water pollution can be stopped at the source. EPA’s Roadmap pairs a plan for the future with the tools it currently has to stop ongoing contamination as the agency develops new standards.

“This roadmap, when fully implemented, could change the landscape in our efforts to protect communities from PFAS pollution. On this anniversary of the Clean Water Act, we’re a step closer to achieving its goals. While the roads to standards identified by EPA are necessarily long; the route to stopping ongoing pollution of our streams and rivers can and should be short.”

Following a lawsuit against the Chemours Company for its years of GenX and other PFAS pollution in eastern North Carolina, the Southern Environmental Law Center and its client, Cape Fear River Watch, continue to enforce the terms of a resulting consent order with the N.C. Dept. of Environmental Quality and Chemours to stop the GenX and other PFAS pollution at its source and ensure the Cape Fear River is safe for downstream communities. The river is the drinking water source for multiple municipalities downstream. GenX and other PFAS have been found in their treated drinking water at high levels.

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