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FIGHTING FOREVER CHEMICALS – Southern Environmental Law Center

By Stephanie Hunt, photos by Cornell Watson

Carrol Olinger never planned on being a rabble-rouser.

She and her family loved the quiet, rural life in Hope Mills, North Carolina — a small town an hour south of Fayetteville, named for the cotton mills nearby. For years, Olinger was a teaching assistant at Alderman Road Elementary School and led Girl Scout adventures, taking her troop fishing along the Cape Fear River.

“I enjoyed scuba diving and snorkeling in it too. It’s still fun even if you can’t see anything,” she says of the 202-mile waterway — the state’s largest river system, which like many tannin-stained rivers, is often murky, like diluted chocolate milk. “But I don’t anymore.” Not since Olinger, her neighbors, and the 500,000 North Carolinians downstream whose drinking water comes from the river learned that natural tannins aren’t the only thing muddying the Cape Fear. FOR MORE

Photo Credit: RiverLink

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