Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Protesters wait outside closed-door GenX meeting at New Hanover County Government Offices

WILMINGTON — Protesters converged on the New Hanover County Administrative Building Thursday morning to voice their thoughts on the recent revelation of GenX, a chemical found in the Cape Fear River. (Read more on local official’s responses to the situation). 

Members from The Chemours Company agreed to a meeting with local government officials from New Hanover County, Pender County, the City of Wilmington, Brunswick County, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services – but the meeting was closed to the public.

New Hanover County released a full list of invitees, though reporters did note others were allowed inside.

The meeting was scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m., with a press conference to follow around 1:15 p.m., according to a county press release.

The local group Women Organizing for Wilmington received the permit for the protest, Cathy McFetters, a protestor said.

McFeeters as well as members of the protest expressed frustration with the meeting’s secretive nature.  

“We expect and we hope we will be able to have our voices heard when this clandestine meeting is over,” she said.

Media access was also severely restricted with only one reporter allowed in the meeting, and recording devices forbidden.

Protestors gathered in front of the entrance to the building calling for open access to the meeting, and clean water. Residents of all ages came out to have their voices heard

“I am a health advocate so I am out here advocating for the health of our community. Clean water is absolutely essential to health, and transparency is essential to health as well … I want people to see my children as they are walking in and out, and for them to have a visual of who is being affected by the chemicals in the water,” Robin Riggs, a Wilmington resident said.

Protestors moved their cause inside the building where New Hanover County deputies stood guard in front of the entrance to the county administrative offices.

Port City Daily will continue to provide updates as they become available.

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Michael Praats can be contacted via email at Michael.p@localvoicemedia.com

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