On its Web site, the public relations firm Ann Green Communications says its services enable clients to “build open and honest relationships with stakeholders through effective communication strategies.”
Folks in the Kanawha Valley are probably wondering exactly how Ann Green’s recommendations to Bayer CropScience were going to do that.
At Thursday night’s U.S. Chemical Safety Board meeting, local activist Jim Lewis told Bayer plant manager Nick Crosby (above, center) that the company wasn’t doing itself any favors with this kind of PR strategy:
Mr. Crosby said he wants dialogue with the community. If you want dialogue with the community, don’t pit us against one another. To pit Maya Nye against Mildred Holt is not right. That’s no way to create dialogue in this community.
I asked Crosby after the meeting if he had apologized to Maya Nye for this PR firm’s comments. He said he hadn’t. But Crosby did say:
“We are going to reach out to Ms. Nye and try to develop a relationship with her organization.”
I’ve got absolutely no desire to marginalize anybody representing any of the people in this community. My desire is to work with all of the community representatives.
OK, then. When’s the next People Concerned About MIC meeting? We assume Nick Crosby will be there, right?
As for Maya Nye, she seems to be able to speak pretty well for herself, so here’s part of what she had to say at Thursday night’s CSB meeting:
I was a child when PCMIC was formed in the mid-1980s. I barely remember the Bhopal disaster, and I vaguely remember evacuating when the incident occurred eight months later in Institute that sent more than 100 people to the hospital. But I clearly remember the 1993 explosion near the MIC tank that killed two workers and sent many people to the hospital.
Sitting in my living room about a crow’s mile away from the plant, I felt a loud boom. I thought a tree limb must have fallen on our house until the fire truck went backwards down my one-way street announcing that a shelter-in-place was in effect and to close all doors, windows and turn off all air conditioners until further notice. Panicked, I called my father, a Union Carbide employee, to ask him if he knew what happened and what to do.
With no information, he told me to hang tight. It wasn’t until after I hung up the phone that the smell invaded my house. I called my father again, only this time I couldn’t get through. The phone lines were jammed as too many people were looking for information at the same time.
Frantically, I grabbed some duct tape and started taping up the cracks around the door and windows as they had taught us to do in school after the Bhopal disaster. It didn’t much work. Too many windows, too little time.
The smell had already invaded my house.Â So with a wet wash rag to my face, I sat with my dog, crying, hoping that my last phone call to my father wouldn’t really be the last.