The new year got underway for the Bladen County Board of Commissioners with what amounts to a dog and pony show when Chairman Ray Britt convinced most of the board to request that representatives from the local Chemours plant come before the board to answer questions about the six months of water contamination the company caused in 2017.
But county residents shouldn’t be cheering.
The request might look good to those wondering what the county is doing about the problems being caused by the GenX contamination in the region — some of which has caused private well users in the county to rely on bottled water for month now — but it really amounts to little more than an exercise in futility.
Chemours has spent the past six months making it abundantly clear that its representatives — including management and attorneys — aren’t in the mood to comment locally about how the GenX problem started, what they plan to do to fix it or even if the problem is part of their agenda going forward.
So what does Britt think Chemours will do with his request to come in front of the county commissioners armed with answers to questions? Like anyone not living under a rock the past six months can also tell him, we will plainly state that Chemours not only isn’t going to make the trip down N.C. 87 to chat with the commissioners, but we’d be genuinely surprised if Britt’s request got anything more than a wadding up and launch into the circular file after a hearty chuckle.
There is absolutely no incentive for Chemours to stand before a verbal firing squad, which is most certainly what would potentially take place during a face-to-face Q&A in a public setting like Britt wants.
Does Chemours need to answer for its troubles? Certainly. Does the company owe Bladen County and its residents some kind of healthy financial amends? Absolutely. Has Chemours abandoned any hope of repairing its good corporate neighbor status? No doubt. Will it all end up in a lawsuit down the road? Perhaps.
But the Bladen County Board of Commissioners stands no chance of getting what it wants by requesting Chemours representatives appear here. The county board has zero sway with Chemours, so the approved request has nothing but hot air behind it — in short, a politician’s move to appease the masses without accomplishing anything.
Instead, the county should do what it’s been doing by attending any of the public meetings with the state’s Department of Envirnmental Quality — and, in fact, perhaps even push for one of those meetings to be held in Bladen County soon.
While we understand the county’s frustration over not having answers to give its residents or a direction in place to begin solving the water problem — and potentially air, as well — we think commissioners shouldn’t waste time with perfunctory, superficial, frivolous, ostentatious and futile requests.
We expect decisions with more substance from elected officials.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” (Amelia Earhart)