House plans its own hearing on river discharge

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The North Carolina House will hold its own investigative hearing into the discharge of a little-studied chemical into a river.

House Speaker Tim Moore announced Wednesday that he'll soon announce appointments to a special committee that will look at the chemical GenX and its release into the Cape Fear River from a Bladen County plant operated by The Chemours Co.

Senate Republicans already said this week they'll hold a hearing because they were unhappy with the response by Gov. Roy Cooper's administration to their detailed questions. Two Cabinet agencies have asked lawmakers $2.6 million to beef up water quality efforts in on the Cape Fear and statewide.

State officials say Chemours recently stopped GenX discharges and that testing shows the chemical's presence in the water has fallen.

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New water tests are good news as the state continues to investigate a chemical company dumping a compound into a river, which hundreds of thousands use for drinking water.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says their week four tests are showing a continued downward trend of concentrations of the unregulated chemical, called GenX, in the Cape Fear River.

The department says the chemical company Chemours is now sending the GenX discharge out of state for incineration.

On Monday, Governor Roy Cooper called on the SBI to look into whether Chemours violated any permits by discharging GenX into the Cape Fear River.

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WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina's governor says he's directing state criminal investigators to see if a chemical plant violated any permits by discharging a lightly studied chemical into a river hundreds of thousands of people use for drinking water.

Gov. Roy Cooper revealed his directions to the State Bureau of Investigation while speaking Monday to local officials in Wilmington.

Cooper also promised chemical company Chemours will be barred from releasing the compound known as GenX into the Cape Fear River alongside its Bladen County plant, which employs nearly 1,000 workers. The chemical is used to make nonstick products like Teflon, replacing a different chemical tied to increased cancer risk.

Cooper spokeswoman Sadie Weiner says the compounds are related and the health effects of GenX largely unknown.

Chemours didn't respond to messages seeking comment.