WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING - State's Chemical Companies Follow Own Safety Plans, Bayer CropScience Folding Their Tent

(08/06/2012)

COMMENT by Bob Weaver

Kanawha Valley chemical companies, after extensive notification, warnings, agreements, training, and safety failures, appear to continue a practice of not calling 911 when there is spill, explosion or incident in their operations.

The failure to call is but one sign that has created a long history of mistrust and fear for Kanawha valley residents.

A chemical reaction has been blamed for a June structure fire at Brenntag Chemical's distribution plant just outside of St. Albans.

Brenntag did not call 911 after an earlier explosion about 11 hours earlier, according to WCHS-TV News.

Sources said company officials told workers not to call 911, that the problem was contained to a storage room and that Brenntag would handle it.

But as the hours rolled on, a second incident ignited the fire, according to the report, and a call was made for emergency services.

In 2008, a Bayer CropScience explosion and fire that killed employees Barry Withrow and Bill Oxley, the company long-delayed calling 911.

The Institute company was called on the carpet regarding the matter after the community was outraged, and now Bayer CropScience is closing much if not all their operation, with notices given to 220 employees with more to come.

In 2008 a West Virginia Supreme Court ruling saved Kanawha taxpayers almost $500,000, after a Bayer CropScience suit wanted a tax refund based on their own bad accounting practices.

"What this was, was a large, foreign, out of state corporation that wanted to take back over a half-million dollars of taxes... "It was a form of what you see on Wall Street, corporate welfare," said Commissioner Kent Carper.

News sources indicate the operation will be globalized, likely to a country that has few concerns for human safety.

The "restructuring" announcement came five months after Bayer reached an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to phase out the use of Aldicarb, the active ingredient in the company's Temik-brand insecticide-nematicide.

Aldicarb is made with MIC, the chemical that spilled in 1984 in Bhopal, India, killing thousands of people in the world's worst industrial accident.

In the long-delayed reporting of the 2008 incident at Institute, eighty feet away from the fire-explosion was a storage tank of the deadly substance.

While you were sleeping, it appears that many chemical companies follow their own protocol about public safety.

And when they don't get their way, they leave.


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