“RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina environmental regulators are delaying penalties against a chemical company for discharging compounds with worrying but little-researched health effects until they’re confident a case will stand up in court, a state official said Wednesday.

The state Department of Environmental Quality has issued two violation notices in less than six months, warned of pending civil penalties and threatened to revoke the permit that legally allows The Chemours Co. plant near Fayetteville to discharge pollutants. Despite that, the agency hasn’t imposed concrete penalties.

Legislators investigating why the chemical GenX has been found in nearby water wells and public drinking water in Wilmington, nearly 100 miles downriver, wanted answers why regulators have held back. GenX is used in the production of Teflon and other non-stick surfaces. Little research exists about the health effects of GenX.

‘How much more is Chemours going to get away with before something is done?’ asked Rep. Ted Davis, who represents Wilmington and neighboring communities.

State assistant environment secretary Sheila Holman said regulators are being methodical with the prospect of a court challenge in mind.

‘We’ve talked before about not taking an action that we can’t defend in court,’ she said.

Tests are also trying to determine the extent of related chemicals in Jordan Lake — which supplies water to the cities of Durham and Cary — and at a Marine Corps secondary airfield near the coastal town of Emerald Isle…

Chemours CEO Mark Vergnano last week told stock analysts the company has been intentionally avoiding public comments about its North Carolina plant while working with regulators on a long-term solution. He said the company is committed to continuing operations at its Bladen County plant…

Both companies reported in annual reports filed last week that they have been subpoenaed repeatedly for information about their operations at the North Carolina plant.”

Read the full article by Emery P. Dalesio.