Thursday, August 18, 2022

It’s been a year of knowing about GenX: Surfrider Foundation hosting clean water panel Thursday

Five non-profits are hosting a panel discussion about GenX as part of 'Clean Water Week'

Five local non-profit groups are hosting a panel discussion to review a full year of the public's knowledge of GenX in the Cape Fear region. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Cape Fear Surfrider Foundation)
Five local non-profit groups are hosting a panel discussion to review a full year of the public’s knowledge of GenX in the Cape Fear region. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Cape Fear Surfrider Foundation)

WILMINGTON—Five non-profits have aligned to debrief on how news of the chemical GenX being in the drinking water has shaped the Cape Fear region.

In the year since the public became aware of the chemical’s presence in the water supply, a lot has changed.

“It just rocked the area,” Cordelia Norris, of Cape Fear Surfrider Foundation, said. “We wanted to mark the year and talk about what happened, what we’ve learned.”

RELATED: GenX bill would repeal Hardison amendment, give DEQ $14 million, power to suspend permits immediately

Norris is the Rise Above Plastics coordinator for the Foundation and is helping to coordinate the group’s Clean Water Week panel discussion.

Hosted by non-profits Cape Fear Surfrider, Cape Fear River Watch, Plastic Ocean Project, NC Coastal Federation, and Cape Fear Sierra Club, the panel discussion is just one event in the coalition’s Clean Water Week programming.

“Since it’s been a year, it’s such a milestone and so much has happened,” Norris said. “We wanted to get people together who really know the issues in different dimensions.”

Panelists include:

  • Dr. Jane Hoppin, an associate professor of biological
    sciences at North Carolina State University.
  • Dana Sargent, president of the board of Cape Fear River Watch.
  • Jim Fletchner, CEO of Cape Fear Public Utility Authority.
  • Dr. Larry Cahoon, Professor of biology and marine biology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
  • Dr. Jamie DeWitt,head of the DeWitt Laboratory in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at East Carolina University.
  • Dr. Susanne Brander,assistant professor at Oregon State University’s Department of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

Discussions will incorporate the audience and will be moderated by WHQR reporter Vince Winkle. Norris said the conversation will be lively and informative.

“To have so much burden fall on the resident is really, it just creates a lot of hardhship and unequally effects people who don’t have those resources,” Norris said.

Topics up for discussion include environmental justice, what’s happened so far and what the community can expect in the future.

If you can’t easily get to a place with GenX free water, you’re more impacted, Norris said. And that hardship can often fall more on someone who is poor or a member of a more vulnerable population.

Interested individuals can submit written questions in advance to rap@capefear.surfrider.org or attend the public meeting, held at Cape Fear Community College’s Union Station Auditorium on June 7, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

More information on Thursday’s panel discussion can be found on the event’s Facebook page.


Send tips to Johanna Ferebee at johanna@localvoicemedia.com or follow Johanna on Twitter @j__ferebee

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