Federal Suit Filed to Prevent Bayer’s Resumption of MIC Production; Alleges New Process “Uncontrolled Experiment” and 83 MIC Leaks in 80s

by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
Federal Suit Filed to Prevent Bayer’s Resumption of MIC Production; Alleges New Process “Uncontrolled Experiment” and  83 MIC Leaks in 80s

INSTITUTE, WV (HNN) – Multiple plaintiffs have filed a federal civil rights complaint to block resumption of MIC production at the Bayer Cropscience plant in Institute, WV.

One portion of the complaint alleges that “toxic chemicals were released into the atmosphere between 1980 and 1985: 61 MIC leaks; 107 phosgene leaks, and 22 leaks of both MIC and phosgene all prior to the August 28, 2008 (explosion) and all without reporting the release as required by law.”

Furthermore, the modified MIC process start up allegedly is not patterned after a Dupont facility in Texas, rather, the complaint alleges “the new process for MIC at Bayer’s current facility has never been employed at any location in the United States or anywhere else; its startup is, for all practical purposes an uncontrolled experiment being conducted in a major population center in which 300,000 citizens reside.”

The suit stated that in the summer of 2009 WV Division of Environmental Protection officials cited the underground MIC system for corrosion protection systems on the MIC tank. Tests “showed that the system was not working properly,” the complaint states.

The law suit contains a statement from William Buckner, Bayer’s President and CEO, that the company had concealed information “to avoid making the controversial chemical MIC part of the public debate” and to “avoid public pressure to reduce the volume of MIC that is produced and stored at Institute by changing to alternative technologies, or even calls by some in our community to eliminate MIC production entirely. We believed because of security concerns, we would have been prevented from a full public defense of our safety and security measures and multiple layers of protection we employ…”

Under “Cause of Action” William DePaulo, plaintiff’s attorney, summarizes why MIC production should not be restarted at the Institute plant:

“.. the long term economic risks associated with restarting Bayer’s facility outweigh any temporary economic loss to Bayer and the community. To be sure, an explosion at the Bayer MIC facility that caused a significant number of bodily injuries and/or loss of life would permanently impair the value of Plaintiffs’ property in Kanawha County. Moreover, such a catastrophic event would convert the Kanawha Valley into a 21st Century “Love Canal” setting back economic development [including[ all economic activity, commercial, industrial, service industry, wholesale and retail --- for many , many decades into the future…”