Brunswick Beacon, 05.11.23
Belville Elementary is the largest elementary school in southeastern North Carolina. It’s on the Cape Fear River, 70 miles downstream from Fayetteville, home of Chemours’ Fayetteville Works. Chemours’ website boasts that “Chemours is the only domestic producer of PFAS.” It doesn’t mention that 40 years of PFAS pollution from that plant gave Brunswick County the most toxic drinking water in America, and that the highest concentration was found at Belville Elementary.
PFAS is a “forever chemical” that never goes away. In 2017, researchers discovered that Brunswick County residents unknowingly drank PFAS-contaminated water for decades. Children played in toxic PFAS foam that polluted our beaches.
After that became public, President Trump killed Clean Water Act protection for millions of miles of America’s streams and wetlands, including the Cape Fear’s upstream branches that poisoned Brunswick County. In December, President Biden did Brunswick County an enormous service by restoring that protection.
Our congressman, David Rouzer, denounced Biden’s decision. When Republicans took over the House, Rouzer became Chair of the Water Resources and Environmental Subcommittee. He immediately introduced legislation to bring back Trump’s Dirty Water Rule. Rouzer called it “the most important vote we cast this Congress.”
Biden vetoed it. Republicans lacked the votes to override, so Rouzer’s attempt failed, as he knew it would when he wasted everyone’s time pursuing it.
Rouzer’s Dirty Water Act, like every bill the Republican-controlled House passes, isn’t actually designed to help people, or solve problems. It’s designed to please corporate donors, like Chemours, who fund Republican campaigns. Rouzer took money from DuPont, which operated the Fayetteville plant that poisoned Brunswick County for more than 30 years before it “spun-off” Chemours.
Brunswick County is NC’s fastest-growing county, the seventh fastest-growing in America. Development is happening everywhere, all the time. We don’t need Rouzer to make it easier for developers to poison us with forever chemicals. We DON’T love that dirty water.