Sustained Outrage

Rocky IV on Bayer: It’s an outrage!


A U.S. Chemical Safety Board map shows that areas and populations forced the shelter in place by the August 2008 Bayer explosion and fire.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller had already issued one statement about the congressional investigation on the Bayer CropScience explosion and fire. It was issued prior to the hearing, and included in the hearing record.

But the West Virginia Democrat was apparently pretty upset by what he heard during the hearing. Rockefeller’s office issued another statement this morning. Here it is:

“These findings are an outrage. I was expecting bad news, but this is far worse than I could have imagined and very disturbing,” said Senator Rockefeller, who submitted testimony at the hearing. “Bayer Chemical Company owes all West Virginia families a clear explanation for this explosion, the response, and any potential hazards, and should cooperate fully with this investigation. We must make sure this never happens again.”

 The Bayer Chemical explosion was the subject of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing held this week. It was discovered that the explosion came close to compromising another nearby tank filled with several tons of methyl isocyanate (MIC), an extremely toxic chemical that killed approximately 4,000 people after a leak in India in 1984. Bayer’s West Virginia facility is the only site in the United States that continues to produce and store large amounts of MIC. Had the tank been compromised, the consequences would have been horrific – far worse than what happened in India 25 years ago.  

 Following the hearing, the Chemical Safety Board will have a public meeting to release interim findings in West Virginia today, even as their investigation continues.

 “Safety is our top priority, period,” said Senator Rockefeller. “I call on the Chemical Safety Board to proceed with a complete investigation – and I remain concerned about Bayer’s commitment to a fully open process to date. Every piece of paper that can be released to the public should be. We need all the information, and all hands on deck to know both what happened and what potential dangers we have right here in our backyard. West Virginia families have a right to know, and I intend to make sure the truth is uncovered as we move forward.”

Remember, the federal Chemical Safety Board public meeting starts at 6:30 tonight. It’s in the Wilson Building at West Virginia State University in Institute. See you there.