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By: Erin Smith

After a closed door meeting with New Hanover County officials, Gov. Roy Cooper announced the NC Department of Environmental Quality is planning to deny Chemours’ permit renewal request to discharge GenX which is currently pending.

Gov. Cooper said in a press conference following the meeting Chemours has demonstrated they have the ability to capture GenX and incinerate it. He encouraged Chemours officials to continue to do that.

He has also requested the State Bureau of Investigation to review matters and determine if a criminal investigation is warranted.  Gov. Cooper said the SBI will work with staff at the Department of Environmental Quality and NC Department of Health and Human Services to determine if Chemours violated their discharge permits.

NC DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen said they are not recommending people in the impacted area to purchase filtration systems. Cohen added NC DHHS officials consider the water safe to drink and the fish safe to consume though long-term effects of consuming GenX are unknown.

The investigation into GenX contamination in the Cape Fear River was launched after NC State University Professor Detlef Knappe and his research team sounded the alarm when they were able to trace the presence of the chemical, called GenX, in the Cape Fear River from Fayetteville to Wilmington. They released their findings in an article published in the Environmental Science and Technology Letters.

The presence of GenX in the Cape Fear River is concerning because it has been alleged to cause kidney and testicular cancers as well as liver damage.