Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Brunswick County hires law firms to represent it against Chemours, DuPont and Kuraray

Brunswick County has announced that it is retaining law firms to represent its interests against several companies (Port City Daily photo/FILE)

BRUNSWICK CO. — Brunswick County announced it has retained the national law firm of Baron & Budd, P.C., as well as attorney Harold Seagle of Seagle Law in North Carolina, to represent its interests against Chemours, DuPont, and Kuraray, and to recover costs and rate payer funds required to investigate, manage, reduce and remove certain chemicals from drinking water drawn from the Cape Fear River, according to a press release.

“This is an important step in protecting the long-term quality of public drinking water in the Cape Fear Region,” Brunswick County Manager Ann Hardy said.  “As we have said on numerous occasions, we will not stand for the discharge of perfluorinated chemicals into our public drinking water supply. We remain absolutely committed to protecting the long-term viability of the Cape Fear River.”

“Brunswick County has obtained evidence that Chemours, DuPont and Kuraray, all multi-billion dollar corporations, manufacture perfluorinated chemicals (“PFCs”) at the Fayetteville Works plant in Fayetteville, North Carolina,” the release states. “DuPont has manufactured PFC chemicals since 1980. Brunswick County believes that as a result of PFC manufacturing, these corporations have released PFC chemicals into Cape Fear River, and thus the public drinking water systems.”

The county also noted that it appears the corporations continued to dump the chemicals into Cape Fear River as recently as September 2017.

“Brunswick County will explore all legal remedies on behalf of the county and its residents, including but not limited to costs of filtration and punitive damages if warranted,” the release states.

Baron & Budd shareholder and attorney Scott Summy said the firms have been retained “to investigate and pursue those legal remedies caused by all chemicals coming from the Fayetteville Works plant.”

It is not Summy’s first legal experience in the area. In 1997 he filed suit against the Conoco Oil company on behalf of Wilmington residents. The lawsuit was the first to deal with MTBE, or methyl tert-butyl ether, a gasoline additive that was found to have leaked from storage tanks into groundwater.

“The firms will be investigating what the corporations knew and when they knew it,” the release states. “Chemours, DuPont and Kuraray discharge wastewater under their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits, issued by the State of North Carolina. However, it appears the corporations failed to disclose the full suite of PFC chemicals discharged from the Fayetteville Works plaint into Cape Fear River through wastewater or other pathways.”

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