Peterson turns back on county residents

The chairman of the Bladen County Board of Commissioners has publicly stated that the board is considering using taxpayer’s monies to take legal action against the state of North Carolina on behalf of a multi-billion dollar private corporation, DuPont and Chemours.

Chairman Charles Ray Peterson, himself a DuPont retiree, said, “We’ve got 500, 600 even 700 people we’ve got to protect, it’s their jobs we’re concerned about.”

What about the other 35,000 citizens of Bladen County who need protection from the cancer causing agents that his former employer has been knowingly discharging into our river and groundwater for many years? What about the hundreds of thousands of other North Carolinians who have been exposed to GenX and other chemical pollutants by DuPont/Chemours? Do they not also deserve protection by our elected officials?

DuPont was well aware of the dangers of their discharge, and they knew of other options for handling their waste that were safer although more expensive. They chose profit over the health and safety of their employees and area residents.

I urge Peterson to undergo testing to determine his own level of exposure to these chemicals and learn about the long-term health effects he might expect to experience. It might change his perspective and shift his misplaced loyalty back to where it belongs, to the people negatively affected by this typical example of corporate greed. Chief among those whose health is endangered are the very employees he claims to be so concerned about.

If Peterson’s first loyalty is to his former employer instead of the citizens of Bladen County that he took an oath of office to represent, then he needs to resign his position as a commissioner and return to the DuPont payroll. At the very least he should recuse himself from taking any board action in this matter since he is receiving retirement pay from the company.

Judging from the reactions of friends and neighbors, I can confidently say that we will be watching very closely in the coming weeks to see what position each of the commissioners take on the GenX crisis. These elected officials need to make the health of our citizens and safety of our water supply a higher priority than a corporate polluter.

Patsy Sheppard

Tar Heel