By Erin Smith
The North Carolina House of Representatives will return to Raleigh for a short session on Thursday, January 10th, and is expected to address proposed legislation for “emerging contaminants.” The bill, which is touted as an attempt to address such chemicals as GenX and other contaminants, was sent to the House by a House Select Committee last week.
The bill calls for a study of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program to ensure that all of the requirements are sufficient. It also calls for a study of water utilities and their liabilities.
N.C. Rep. William Brisson, who represents House District 22, said, “It’s a start.”
The bill does not carry with it any funding for the studies or other items included. Rep. Brisson assured the money is in the state budget.
He pointed out there are many contaminates out there that little is known about. With new technology comes new compounds, said Brisson. There are several contaminants such as GenX for which there are no studies and their impact n the environment and humans is not known.
“We want answers as quickly as the public does, but we want the correct answers,” said Rep. Brisson.
He said he has spoken with members of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality and NC Department and Health and Human Services. Rep. Brisson said learning exactly what these contaminants are and how they impact the environment will take time.
“We can’t afford to guess at it,” said Rep. Brisson.
Rep. Brisson said as the N.C. House prepares to address the bill this week, all of the state’s agencies are researching GenX and other contaminants, trying to find solutions to the problem.
He added that the state has researched health issues related to the compounds and has found no issues or increased cancer rates. You can read the data compiled here.
“There is nothing we can document to show any irregularity for the area,” said Rep. Brisson.
Brisson attended the most recent information session conducted at Gray’s Creek High School. He said he heard many questions and heart-felt concerns. He said he felt the state is doing its best to find answers.
If approved, the proposed bill will then move to the NC Senate.