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EPA reexamining importation of harmful chemical wastewater to North Carolina


EPA reexamining importation of harmful chemical wastewater to North Carolina

Nov 07, 2023 | 11:28 am ET
By Lisa Sorg
EPA reexamining importation of harmful chemical wastewater to North Carolina
The U.S. EPA is reviewing its previous authorization of Chemours to import up to 4 million pounds of GenX from the Netherlands to North Carolina over the next year. Image: Adapted from Google Maps by Lisa Sorg for NC Newsline

This is a developing story and has been updated to include comments from Gov. Roy Cooper.

The federal EPA is reviewing its previous authorization of imports of GenX wastewater from the Netherlands to Chemours’ Fayetteville Works plant in North Carolina, according to an EPA official. That authorization was first reported by NC Newsline.

“In response to recent concerns expressed by stakeholders including the state of North Carolina and Brunswick County, EPA reached out to Chemours requesting a pause on the import of non-hazardous waste from the Netherlands to its Fayetteville, North Carolina facility. Chemours has agreed to a temporary pause of imports and exports to North Carolina until Dec. 1,” the EPA official said.

The company could not be immediately reached for comment.

EPA had authorized the importation of four million pounds of GenX from Chemours’ Dordrecht plant to the Fayetteville Works facility over the next year.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality said it was unaware of the EPA’s approval.

On Nov. 3, Gov. Cooper sent a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan about the import authorization.

Regan was formerly the N.C. DEQ Secretary, and was appointed by Gov. Cooper.

“It was with dismay that we learned that EPA recently approved the importation” of GenX From the Netherlands, the governor wrote. “This approval should be reconsidered and reversed.”

According to the EPA official, the agency is taking these concerns seriously and will review the notices that the company has provided to ensure the public remains safe.

DEQ officials could not be reach for immediate comment. Environmental advocates greeted the news with expressions of cautious optimism.

Dana Sargent, executive director of Cape Fear River Watch issued the following statement:

“We are pleased to hear that EPA is taking a second look at their massive misstep in approving 4.4 million pounds of PFAS waste to enter our port, be trucked through our contaminated community and managed by a proven bad actor — Chemours Fayetteville Works. We hope the NC DEQ — who clearly wasn’t paying attention, as they were alerted to this issue by a journalist — and the EPA take a hard look at the failures that cultivated this colossal blunder and ensure other polluting industries aren’t given similar carte blanche that threatens human health and the environment.”


Tim Whitehouse, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, expressed similar concerns:

“We welcome EPA’s decision to pause the import of PFAS waste for reclamation and disposal from the Netherlands.

However, a long-term solution to the problem of PFAS waste imports is needed. EPA’s failure to set stringent standards for controlling PFAS pollution means the U.S. will increasingly become an attractive dumping ground for companies in other countries wanting to offload their PFAS waste. EPA needs to begin immediately setting standards for PFAS waste management.”


Emily Donovan of Clean Cape Fear said battles over GenX will continue:

“Thank you, Biden EPA, for listening to the concerns expressed by the clear bipartisan opposition to these shipments. While the world may seem deeply divided, our communities stand united in our demands to hold Chemours completely accountable for its operations and abuses. We will not stop fighting until these shipments have permanently ended.”