Elizabeth Biser and La'Meshia Whittington

NC DEQ Sec. Elizabeth Biser and La’Meshia Whittingon, Deputy Director of Programs, NC Black Alliance

This week, The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality announced its plan to combat PFAS pollution in the drinking water.

Joined by Governor Roy Cooper, NCDEQ officials say the strategy contains three priorities: protecting communities, protecting drinking water and cleaning up existing contamination. The NC DEQ has launched a significant starting point in addressing PFAS, following the lead of former NC DEQ Secretary and now acting US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, Michael Regan’s federal PFAS roll out last fall. 

Representing the NC Black Alliance, La’Meshia Whittington, attended this ground breaking press conference with NC Governor Roy Cooper and NC DEQ Sec. Elizabeth Biser. 

“Since 2018, we have organized in community, challenged a billion dollar corporation by filing a legal petition against Chemours for poisoning our homes. We’ve been in community with advocates from Australia to Canada, led presentations for the National Governor’s Association, influenced future CDC clinical guidelines on PFAS through our appointment to the National Academies of Sciences PFAS testing advisory, trained over 30 community organizations and hundreds of North Carolina residents on the poison in their water, firefighter gear and food. 

In 2019, I had the honor of initiating the first community meeting on PFAS, outside the NC DEQ, collaborating with the Center for Environmental Health, local Black electeds, Columbus County Forum, and inviting a consortium of organizations, expert toxicologists and scientists to join us in Bladen County.

We have fought tirelessly for our communities to be prioritized, for our drinking water and consumer goods to not be contaminated by this dangerous chemical and to hold the corporation responsible. Today is the result of people power, of community organizing and working in tandem with state and federal officials who are prioritizing the health of our state. 

We are not done yet but today is progress in the fight for clean water against PFAS,” said La’Meshia Whittington, Deputy Director of Programs for the NC Black Alliance and Board Member of the NC DEQ Environmental Justice & Equity Advisory Board.

 

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