Press Statement: Bayer Abandons MIC production In West Virginia
Bayer announces that it will abandon MIC production in Institute West Virginia
Victory for public safety after decades-long community resistance
For inquiries, please contact: Maya Nye, People Concerned About MIC, 304-389-6859
In a surprise announcement today, Bayer CropScience has announced that they will be abandoning plans to restart production of Methyl Isocyanide (MIC) at their Institute, W.V. plant. MIC was the chemical leaked from the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, India in 1984, killing thousands immediately and thousands more in the many years since the world's worst industrial disaster. In the years since the Bhopal Disaster, many people in Institute have fought to protect their community from a Bhopal-like disaster. Today, they celebrate this announcement as a victory in protecting their community.
Maya Nye, a leader of the local group People Concerned about MIC, and 16 other residents had recently sued Bayer to stop the company from restarting MIC production at the site. In August 2008, there was an explosion at the factory, killing two workers. The equipment that exploded narrowly missed the above ground MIC storage facility. This brought new scrutiny to the site from Congress and the Chemical Safety Board. A congressional hearing concluded that the near disaster would have "eclipsed Bhopal" in magnitude. Bayer spent $36 million to improve safety at the site and reduced their MIC stockpile by 80% following the accident. Activists learned that Bayer was planning to restart MIC production this February and responded with the suit. A judge had issued a temporary injunction to prevent Bayer from restarting MIC production. A hearing was schedule for next Monday to determine if the injunction would be made permanent.
Sanjay Verma, Bhopal survivor and activist had arrived in West Virginia yesterday to testify at the hearing about the real and long term consequences of an MIC disaster. Today, he said:
"Another Bhopal Would Have Taken Place. Today I am happy that Bayer CropScience announced that they were dropping plans to resume production of the chemical, commonly called MIC, and would begin dismantling the unit.. It is not only the victory for residents of a tiny West Virginia town called Institute, it is a victory for the world. We should all celebrate the victory, and at the same time take a resolution that we won't let them manufacture MIC anywhere else. I am sure that this news will encourage people from Bhopal, as they have kept their fight against these corporations for years."
Maya Nye, People Concerned About MIC, 304-389-6859, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sanjay Verma, Bhopal survivor and activist with International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, can be reached through Maya Nye or at email@example.com
Shana Ortman, U.S. Coordinator for the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, 415-746-0306, firstname.lastname@example.org