UPDATED: Federal Judge Blocks MIC Production Citing Safety Violations, Accidents, and "Leaks"

by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
Courtesy People Against MIC
Courtesy People Against MIC

CHARLESTON, WV (HNN) – A Temporary Restraining Order has been issued by Judge Joseph Goodwin which prevents Bayer CropScience from “resuming or engaging” in the production of MIC at the Institute, WV plant.

“The court enjoins and restrains the parties {Bayer} from participating or engaging in any part of the manufacture of methyl isocyanate.”

The order takes effect at 3:15 Feb. 10, 2011, or until which time that plaintiffs post a $10,000 “bond or other security.”

Having considered only the “limited” pleadings before the court and oral arguments, Goodwin determined that the plaintiffs were “likely to succeed on the merits.” The federal complaint seeks to call the MIC unit a “nuisance,” which Goodwin said is a legal standard “flexible and adaptable to a wide variety of factual situations.”

In addition, he stressed “defendant’s history of safety violations, misrepresentations to the public, and multiple accidents and chemical leaks” allow him without an evidentiary hearing to find “plaintiffs are likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of this temporary relief."

He found the TRO meets the “public interest” and the balance of harm to the parties (residents) versus harm to the economic capabilities of Bayer “tips in favor of the plaintiffs given the catastrophic dangers presented by the production of MIC.”

The Court has ordered that briefs with supporting memorandum of law in support of a preliminary injunction be filed February 14 with responses on Feb. 18 and replies on Feb. 21. “If a motion for a preliminary injunction is filed, the court will conduct an evidentiary hearing on Feb. 25, 2011 to determine whether entry of a preliminary injunction is appropriate.” The Court will convene daily except Sunday to hear the evidence

Bayer CropScience issued a statement following the court decision. Expressing disappointment with the court's decision to discontinue the startup the statement continues, "We believe such an action is not warranted and could have an immediate and adverse impact to our site and to the farmers who depend on our products to help produce crops important to American agriculture. We will review our options in response to the court's ruling."