Karmic Reverberations

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Plant Releases Dangerous Chemicals, Doesn’t Tell

Posted by karmalily on April 21, 2009

In a move reminiscent of the cover-up surrounding the accident at Chernobyl, managers of a chemical plant of in West Virginia waited hours to inform emergency officials about a dangerous chemical it accidentally released. Two employees at Bayer CropScience were killed, with six firefightered made sick.

From the New York Times:

Devices meant to detect releases of the chemical, methyl isocyanate, known as MIC, had been disabled, and video cameras had been disconnected, steps that “raise concerns about an orchestrated effort by Bayer to shroud the explosion in secrecy,” said the subcommittee chairman, Representative Bart Stupak, Democrat of Michigan.

Apparently the plant thought that they could “refuse to provide information” to the board that was created to lead the investigation. They claimed that some of the documents requested contained sensitive information, and their release could jeopardize the plant’s safety. However, the law the company used to get out of releasing those documents was actually created to protect port security, and Bayer CropScience had to say they were under the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard.

This is worrisome because more people could have been hurt, and when you live near a chemical plant or any other such location, you want to know that you are secure and that the managers of the plant are doing everything they can to keep the chemicals safely contained. This is one example of how dangerous the inept leadership of companies can be. Officials should have been notified of the release of dangerous chemicals as soon as it happened, not hours later.

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