Good neighbors take care of each other. We respect each other’s property and strive to help one another.
We certainly wouldn’t knowingly dump poisonous chemicals in our neighbors’ drinking water for decades, reap huge profits and refuse requests to pay to clean up our mess, then go around the neighborhood bragging about how awesome a neighbor we are.
Chemours, which has been running a misleading advertising blitz in recent weeks calling itself a good neighbor because they’ve taken steps to protect the environment, is now doing just that. Let’s be clear: Chemours is the corporate equivalent of the neighbor who plays loud music, blocks your driveway and dumps their garbage on your lawn.
Since the discovery of GenX and other emerging contaminants in our drinking water system became public in 2017, New Hanover County and the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority have pushed Chemours to voluntarily clean up the mess they made.
A good neighbor would have eagerly done so. Chemours instead balked for years and are now only going to be taking local steps because, after forceful advocacy by New Hanover County and our partners, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality is requiring Chemours to submit plans to begin conducting a comprehensive assessment of groundwater contamination in New Hanover County, as an expansion of its off-site assessment required under the 2019 Consent Order.
A good neighbor would have voluntarily paid for upgrades to drinking water systems to filter out the chemicals they dumped into our environment. Instead, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has undertaken upgrades costing nearly $50 million and are suing Chemours to recover costs.
A good neighbor would have voluntarily taken steps to prevent contamination in the future. They did, as the advertisements suggest, invest in systems to remove pollutants from entering the Cape Fear River. But only after being forced to by the courts.
A good neighbor voluntarily and happily turns down the music, moves their car out of your driveway and cleans up the garbage dumped on your lawn. They don’t wait until you’ve called the police to force them to be a better neighbor.
We hope Chemours’ advertising campaign falls on deaf ears, because New Hanover County’s residents know that they are not a good neighbor.