Source: HuffPost

HuffPost chronicled the years of effort put behind undermining agencies in North Carolina that would help prevent chemicals from entering the environment or hold polluters to account. Republicans have led the charge in underfunding agencies, HuffPost reports.

“[T]he state’s Republican-controlled legislature has financially kneecapped the agencies dealing with PFAS-related issues, leaving them unable to adequately test water, study health impacts, clean up the contamination and hold polluters accountable. Meanwhile, money that could save lives around the Cape Fear region now sits unspent,” HuffPost reports.

“It’s almost criminal,” Emily Donovan told the outlet. She is co-founder of the Clean Cape Fear advocacy group.

The power to oversee important agencies was stripped of Governor Cooper by Republicans when he took office. The governor has fought for more funding to agencies like the Department of Environmental Quality, but Republicans legislators haven’t budged, the HuffPost reports.

On another front, Attorney General Josh Stein has led the legal battle to hold polluters to account. Republicans also stripped funding from his office, resulting in 23 environmental attorneys being let go.

“While I have great confidence in my attorneys and the hard work they do to protect our state’s clean air and water, there’s no doubt that our Environmental Division is underfunded and understaffed,” Stein told HuffPost. “We are simply not funded at a level that allows us to protect the state from these dangerous chemicals to the extent needed.”

Still, Stein’s office has lodged lawsuits against Chemours, a spinoff of DuPont chemical, in their management of forever chemicals. 

Read the full story on how Cooper and Stein are pushing back in the fight for North Carolina’s environment.