After more than a year of refusing to talk to area residents about the chemical contamination they have caused, Chemours finally held a meeting June 12 and I attended.
I have a vested interest in this issue, as my family’s land, including my own small farm, adjoins the DuPont/Chemours property. I am outraged that land my family has owned for nearly 300 years is permanently damaged and devalued by the chemical contamination of companies that poison for profit. I am angry that my relatives and neighbors have health problems that we firmly believe are caused by exposure to chemicals from DuPont/Chemours.
The way Chemours handled the meeting was not only disrespectful to the people they have wronged, it was professionally stupid.
Attendees were greeted by the sight of several Bladen County Sheriff’s Department vehicles, with deputies directing traffic and parking. Once at the door, deputies searched women’s purses and patted down men.
The meeting was held in a church, a site chosen specifically by Chemours in an effort to control the anger and frustration of area residents. The meeting was opened by prayer, and the Bladen County Ministerial Association was praised by a Chemours official, who made it sound like Chemours had been blessed by the association and God was on their side.
Chemours officials refused admission to members of the media with cameras, claiming that the church banned all filming in their sanctuary. When a reporter showed that statement was a lie by proving that the church streamed their services online to the public, Chemours officials refused to comment.
After being searched by police, members of the public were told by Chemours manager Brian Long that we should trust Chemours, and that they wanted to hear from the public. Well, not actually HEAR from the public, as we were not allowed to speak. We were allowed to write down questions for a Chemours response.
A response, not an answer. Of the dozens of questioned submitted, I heard only one straight answer, and it was to a question I submitted. I asked what Chemours planned to do to compensate area residents for the damage done to their health, homes, land, and property values. Long’s response was that they do not plan to do anything. That was the only thing he said all night that I believed.
I certainly do not believe that he “understands your frustrations” or “shares your concerns,” and I don’t believe that he and his family “would love to live in this community”.
I do believe that Chemours officials stood in a church and lied for two hours to people they have irreversibly harmed, without a shred of shame.