Four Republican Senators in North Carolina have introduced new legislation, to make available a network of scientists and other resources, to focus on water quality in the state. Senator Michael Lee of New Hanover County says the bill creates no additional cost to taxpayers.
In addition to opening up a large network of scientists, Lee says the legislation would provide over one hundred mass spectrometers, and other resources within the University of North Carolina system to analyze water samples and conduct research on ways to improve water quality in areas of the state affected by GenX and other compounds.
The bill also provides $2.4 million for the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality – DEQ - and dedicates $2 million already in the budget of a policy research program at UNC-Chapel Hill to carry out its provisions.
In an email to WHQR, Senate spokesperson Amy Auth explained that because the resources are from the UNC system, they are already funded in the state budget.
The bill would also require the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to consult with the EPA and others to develop health goals for GenX and other related chemicals, have DEQ review the state’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, and make sure DEQ cooperates with the EPA on any audit of the permitting program to ensure environmental programs are working effectively.
Last summer, Gov. Roy Cooper requested $2.6 million for perpetual monitoring for GenX, the restoration of positions to the Department of Environmental Quality and the formation of a water safety unit at the Department of Health and Human Services. He never got an answer on that request, from the General Assembly.