RALEIGH – It’s been six months since North Carolina learned about GenX, yet Republican lawmakers have failed to provide the resources DEQ needs to continue combatting the contaminant. Today, they did more of the same, instructing DEQ this morning to commit more resources to fight GenX without any additional funding or help from the General Assembly.
While North Carolinians feel the urgency of the GenX crisis, Republican lawmakers seem to think a solution can wait:
“I don’t expect at this point that we would take any formal action in the House, as far as a House session on it next week, because we do have the entire month to do it if we wanted to,” said House Speaker Tim Moore.
Independent experts have already criticized the legislation:
“All this legislation does is kick the can down the road for the foreseeable future,” – Matthew Starr, Upper Neuse Riverkeeper
“It gives DEQ a fair amount more work to do, but it doesn’t have any funding for them to do it, which is already a problem…They’re already understaffed and overworked and underfunded.”- Kemp Burdette, Cape Fear Riverkeeper
“It’s putting off any meaningful action until at least 2019,” – Mary Maclean Asbill, Southern Environmental Law Center
Over the last decade, the Republican General Assembly has slashed DEQ’s budget by millions of dollars. Meanwhile, Governor Cooper has presented to Republican leaders a simple, detailed, modest funding request to address this issue, yet Republicans continue to pretend they don’t know what the money should be spent on.
Fixing GenX and protecting water quality is complex, but the next-step is simple – provide DEQ the resources they need to so that our citizens can be safe and informed. It doesn’t take months to figure it out.
“Resolving the GenX crisis is an urgent matter and it’s time for our Republican lawmakers to treat it as such,” said NCDP Executive Director Kimberly Reynolds.“It is unacceptable that Republicans continue to drag their feet and tell our regulators to do more with less instead of addressing this serious public health issue.”