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NC Business Denial Delays Regulations to Reduce PFAS Contamination

EPA Administrator Michael Regan visited UNCW in Wilmington in March 2023 to announce plans for new drinking water standards for six PFAS chemicals.  Regan returned to North Carolina last month to present the agency's final regulations.

Just below the surface, a looming battle may be brewing between North Carolina regulators and the state’s business community when it comes to new standards aimed at keeping “forever chemicals” like GenX out of groundwater and surface water.

The dispute could put some Wilmington-area organizations in uncomfortable territory, as the Cape Fear region has become an epicenter of PFAS contamination since it was discovered that many then-unknown man-made chemicals, including GenX, had been dumped into the Cape Fear River. and contaminated drinking water sources across much of southeastern North Carolina for decades.

Politics is also at play – Gov. Roy Cooper’s Democratic administration, which will leave office at the end of the year, faces Republican-nominated members of the state’s Environmental Management Commission (EMC), who have proposed slowing down implementation of proposed new regulations to allow for further study.