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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'West Virginia' Category


27
Mar

EPA Upholds Clean Water Act, Steps in to Add Impaired Streams to State List

(Beyond Pesticides, March 27, 2013) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stepped in this week to revise a biennial report on impaired rivers and streams across West Virginia, after state officials, under pressure from industry interests, left more than 1,000 miles of polluted waterways off the list. EPA officials stated that the Clean Water Act does not allow the state to ignore evidence that streams are troubled. Water standards and plans for cleanup must be adopted for impaired waterways. EPA reprimanded West Virginia from shirking its responsibilities under the law to list all of the state’s impaired streams, in spite of industry interference. EPA Region  3 officials are now proposing to add an additional 255 waterway segments where aquatic life is impaired to the state’s 303(d) list, named for the section of the Clean Water Act that requires it be prepared. Section 303(d) requires a listing of impaired streams in the state, and the list is used for water standard development for subsequent cleanup plans and restoration of the impaired waterways. States are required to publish such lists every two years. West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) submitted The West Virginia Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report   […]

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25
Oct

Judge Halts GE Crops on Southeastern Wildlife Refuges

(Beyond Pesticides, October 25, 2012) In stark contrast with last week’s decision in the midwest, a federal court ruled in favor of halting cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) crops in all national wildlife refuges in the Southeastern U.S. on Tuesday. The suit, filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), Center for Food Safety (CFS), and Beyond Pesticides, is a part of a series of legal actions taken against the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services (FWS) for entering into cooperative farming agreements for GE crops on wildlife refuge sites without the environmental review required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and refuge management laws. This latest ruling bars FWS from entering into cooperative farming agreements for GE crops on the 128 refuges across eight states, including the 25 refuges currently growing GE crops. The requirement of environmental reviews will likely prevent the planting of crops in 2013 and 2014, and may result in a permanent end to the practice, as native successional grasses reclaim fallow refuge tracts. This ruling is the third in a series of victories against FWS. In March 2009, the same groups won a similar lawsuit against GE plantings on Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. In […]

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11
Feb

WV Residents Sue Bayer, Court Orders Temporary Injunction on Chemical Production

(Beyond Pesticides, February 11, 2011) In response to a lawsuit that residents in the town of Institute, WV filed against the chemical manufacturer Bayer CropScience, Chief U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin ordered the company to stop production of the highly toxic chemical methyl isocyanate (MIC) -responsible for killing tens of thousands and chronically injuring over 100,000 people when a Bhopal, India plant leaked the chemical in 1984. Specifically, the judge issued a 14-day restraining order, explaining that the residents who are suing the company are likely to win the case and would be “likely to suffer irreparable harm” without relief from the court. Judge Goodwin also cited Bayer’s history of safety violations and misrepresentations to the public about prior incidents at the plant. The announcement was made February 10, 2010; the judges order can be read here. Area residents filed suit on Tuesday, February 8, seeking to prevent the company from producing any MIC until the manufacturing plant is inspected for safety and environmental compliance by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). MIC is an intermediate chemical used in the production of aldicarb and other carbamate pesticides. These pesticides have been […]

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04
Dec

25 Years After Plant Explosion Bhopal Residents Still Suffer

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2009) Twenty-five years ago, a toxic cloud of gas from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, enveloped the surrounding city, leaving thousands dead. Anywhere between 50,000 to 90,000 lbs of the chemical methyl isocyanate (MIC) are estimated to have leaked into the air, killing approximately 8,000-10,000 people within the first three days, according to data by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Advocacy groups working with victims say that more than 25,000 have died to date, and more than 120,000 people still suffer from severe health problems as a result of their exposure. According to a Reuters piece on the anniversary of Bhopal, “India’s “death factory” leaves toxic legacy 25 years on,” there are still 40 metric tonnes of chemical waste stored in a warehouse inside the plant that still needs disposal. Dow Chemical, which now owns Union Carbide, denies any responsibility saying it bought the company a decade after Union Carbide had settled its liabilities to the Indian government in 1989 by paying $470 million for the victims. “After the disaster, Union Carbide did this botched site remediation and created a massive landfill,” said Rajan Sharma, a New York-based lawyer demanding that Dow […]

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01
Sep

After Deadly Explosion Bayer Reduces Chemical Stockpile to Still Hazardous Levels

(Beyond Pesticides, September 1, 2009) On August 26, 2009, Bayer CropScience announced plans to reduce by 80 percent the storage of methyl isocyanate (MIC), the chemical used in pesticide production that caused the explosion in Bhopal, India and Institute, West Virgina. Two workers were killed in August 2008 when the chemical, an intermediate chemical used in the production of aldicarb, carbaryl, carbofuran, methomyl and other carbamate pesticides, exploded at a Bayer facility in Institute, WV. Thousands died in a Bhopal in 1984. Advocates point out that even if Bayer follows through with its 80% reduction promise, it would still allow up to 50,000 pounds of MIC to be stored on site. This would be similar to the amount of the chemical present in the 1984 Union Carbide (now owned by Dow Chemical) explosion in Bhopal, India. Last summer, when a pesticide tank exploded in West Virginia, comparisons between the site’s potential risk and the Bhopal disaster, in which an explosion and leak killed thousands, were drawn. Currently, the U.S. plant has the capacity to store more up to 40,000 pounds of MIC above ground and 200,000 pounds below ground. Bayer says it will eliminate all above ground storage. Bayer Cropscience […]

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02
Apr

Bayer Suppresses Details and Hazards of Plant Explosion

(Beyond Pesticides, April 2, 2009) Last summer, when a pesticide tank exploded at a Bayer chemical plant in West Virginia, comparisons between the site’s potential risk and the 1984 Bhopal disaster, in which an explosion and leak at the Bayer site’s sister plant killed thousands, were drawn. The investigation into the West Virginia incident is ongoing, but recent reports show that Bayer is using every means to prevent full disclosure of the potential for a similar disaster to occur in the United States. Like Union Carbide’s Bhopal plant, Bayer stores stockpiles of the highly toxic chemical methyl isocyanate (MIC) in Institute, West Virginia. The U.S. plant has the capacity to store more than twice the amount of MIC that was leaked in Bhopal. The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, a nonregulatory agency, is conducting an investigation into the cause of last year’s explosion, emergency response coordination, and future prevention measures. However, Bayer has invoked the 2002 federal Maritime Transportation Security Act because its campus is attached to a dock on the Kanawha River, claiming the Act exempts it from sharing “sensitive security information” due to potential terrorism. The board has already canceled one public meeting on the investigation, the […]

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05
Sep

Bayer Pesticide Plant Explosion Reveals Shaky Safety Record

(Beyond Pesticides, September 5, 2008) On the night of August 28, a pesticide waste tank exploded at Bayer’s Institute, West Virginia plant. One worker was killed, another injured, and the blast was heard in Mink Shoals, more than ten miles away. Despite individual accounts of the resulting air pollution, Bayer officials assured the public that no chemicals had escaped the plant. An investigation of Bayer’s safety history and the area’s emergency response reveals a shaky safety record.. The tank involved in the explosion contained waste products from the production of Bayer’s insecticide, thiodicarb, which is banned in the European Union. Included in those were methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), hexane, methomyl, and dimethyl disulfide, all of which are acutely toxic to humans. According to chief of homeland security and emergency response for the state Department of Environmental Protection, Mike Dorsey, “The thing that blew up was the least dangerous of the stuff that’s there.” Jeannie Young, who lives near the plant, said that following the blast, “My daughter and I have headaches.” When taking her dogs outside half an hour following the explosion, “They acted really funny. They wanted to come right back in the house.” In spite of a noticeable […]

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