Read the full article by Liz McLaughlin (WRAL)
“‘In this area, a lot of moms live in fear,’ said Emily Donovan, a Wilmington mother of three who has been an activist against PFAS pollution since 2017, when chemicals were discovered in the Cape Fear River.
The Cape Fear River is a drinking water supply for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians.
Donovan, who started an organization called Clean Cape Fear, and Katie Bryant, co-founder of Clean Haw River, collected more than 1,300 signatures for an open letter encouraging U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina, to take a more visible leadership role in protecting residents from PFAS pollution before visiting with federal leaders this week in Washington, D.C.
‘Our leaders are being faced with a tough reality regarding the safety of PFAS that was locked away for decades,’ Bryant said. ‘We are all living with those impacts and those willing to listen are now coming forward to hold PFAS manufacturers accountable.’
Donovan and Bryant oppose new draft legislation that would exclude thousands of chemicals from the definition of PFAS, a move that could allow industrial polluters to avoid regulation.
‘There has been a very cozy relationship for decades with the chemical industry and regulators and that needs to stop,’ Donovan said.
Last year, the chemical industry spent a record $67 million on lobbying, including more than $2.5 million from Dupont and Chemours alone, according to data from the Senate Office of Public Records.
The American Chemistry Council, one of the largest contributors to lobbing funds, said in a statement: ‘We support strong, science-based regulation of PFAS chemistries. But overly broad restrictions on this important technology could significantly harm economic growth and hamper businesses and consumers from accessing the products they need.’
In 2020, Tillis received $73,568 in campaign contributions from the chemical industry.
Adam Webb, a communications director for Tillis’ office, said, ‘Senator Tillis has been a leader in protecting North Carolinians from emerging contaminants like PFAS, including successfully pushing the EPA to designate PFAS as a hazardous substance.’
Webb also said Tillis has secured hundreds of millions of dollars for the state to address PFAS contamination and clean water infrastructure.
‘We just encourage them to to make us proud and to do the right thing,’ Donovan said.”…