Dupont, county giving us no help

I hope the Bladen Journal will make it a priority to keep the citizens of our county informed about the chemical contamination of our area by DuPont/Chemours. Bladen County officials, particularly Commissioner Chairman Charles Ray Peterson, have made it clear that protecting DuPont/Chemours is their No. 1 priority, even if it means using county funds from taxpayers to sue the state to stop it from regulating the contamination.

Those of us living in the affected area are frustrated that our tax dollars were used to give DuPont incentives to build the source of the contamination and now we might be paying taxes used to sue the only entity trying to protect us from the poisonous contamination.

In addition, DuPont is giving special protections to their employees who have contaminated wells (installing filtration systems on their wells, etc.) that they refuse to provide for affected citizens who do not work there.

Keep in mind that the EPA thinks below 140ppt may be safe for humans, but they have no proof it is. My neighbor’s well tested at 1030 ppt, and DuPont has done nothing for them and their two children except provide cases of bottled water.

Both DuPont and our county officials have made it clear they plan to do nothing unless legally forced to do so, as our area of Bladen County is sparsely populated and we don’t have a voting bloc large enough to affect their election. Commissioners usually show up in our area once every four years to ask for our votes, and of course we get tax bills every year. Other than that we only get attention when they want a place to put a business like a chemical plant or a hog slaughtering plant that nobody wants to live near.

State environmental regulators announced on Nov 16 they will revoke a key portion of Chemours’ wastewater permit and that they are referring an investigation into an unreported spill of unregulated chemicals in October at the plant to the State Bureau of Investigation.

There have already been lawsuits filed in the Wilmington area, with more to come locally. But that doesn’t change the fact that our land and water is so contaminated that it will not be cleaned up in my lifetime. No amount of money could compensate us for the damages to our health and our families and the loss of our property values, and money cannot compensate us for the permanent damage done to the area where we live. Nor can it compensate us for the betrayal of locally elected officials who sit by and do nothing to help us as we breath contaminated air and use contaminated water.

Patsy Sheppard

Tar Heel