All posts by Rox Carter

German company penalised for ‘Bhopal sister’ plant accident in US

A fatal explosion in the pesticide manufacturer’s plant in 2008 had led the US environment agency to draw a parallel with Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984

While the victims of Bhopal gas tragedy still await the decision of a US Court on Union Carbide Corporation’s liability for 1984 gas leak, a company that manufactures deadly methyl isocyanate (MIC) has been penalised in the US for causing two deaths in another tragedy.

Bayer Cropscience, a German company that manufactures MIC in West Virginia, was penalised for violating accident prevention laws.An explosion in its plant had led to killing of two persons in 2008. The manufacturing unit came to be known as Bhopal’s sister plant after environmentalists found that the only other plant after Bhopal that stockpiles MIC was this plant in West Virginia.

The US’s Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice, on September 21, had announced a US $5.6 million settlement with German pesticide and insecticide manufacturer Bayer CropScience for violations. Bayer CropScience, in March this year, had sold a significant part of the plant to Dow Chemicals, the company that now owns UCC. The plant is situated in an unincorporated township, called Institute, in West Virginia.

Full story to be found here: http://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/german-company-penalised-for-bhopal-sister-plant-accident-in-us-51219

An unending tragedy in India

Bhopal victims, on the other hand, represented by non-profit Earth Rights International (ERI), are hopeful that the American court will honour the new evidence that shows that one UCC employee, Lucas John Couvaras, managed the construction of the plant. Earlier, in June 2012, judges had ruled in favour of UCC’s erstwhile chief executive officer Warren Anderson in denying that they faced any individual liability because he did not personally approve the location of the Bhopal plant.

On Monday, the US Environmental Protection Agency, based on complaints of residents of Institute and environmental groups across the world, initiated an investigation of the 2008 incident. During the investigation, as outlined in a 173-page consent document of EPA and Bayer, it was found that safety lapses led to the deadly runaway chemical reaction in 2008. A Congressional investigation even stated that the explosion “came dangerously close” to compromising an MIC storage tank about 24 metres away. Had the burning residue treatment plant hit the tank, “the consequences could have eclipsed the 1984 disaster in Bhopal, India.”

The problem area

The complaint details several problems that arose at the pesticide manufacturing facility in the Institute where the company did not comply with its risk management plan designed to prevent accidental releases. In 2008, a new digital control system was installed, but safety interlock associated with the control system was not properly engaged at startup. Employees were not fully trained to understand or operate the system and failed to follow procedures for sampling, temperature control and flow safeguards. The result was an uncontrollable build up in a treatment unit, causing a chemical reaction resulting in explosion, fire and loss of life. During the incident, the company delayed emergency officials trying to access the plant, and failed to provide adequate information to emergency response operators in the country.

Prior to the 2008 explosion, the Coalition against Bayer Dangers (CBG), a non-profit based in Germany, had introduced several countermotions to Bayer’s Annual Shareholder Meetings demanding to stop MIC production in Institute, in West Virginia. However, when the non-profit spoke up on the issue four months ahead of the explosion at the shareholder meeting, Bayer CEO Werner Wenning rejected any need for action. “The plant officials said that it conformed to the latest safety standards and had an excellent incident rate,” states a release by CBG.

According to Axel Koehler-Schnura of CBG, highly hazardous substances such as phosgene and MIC are not among the mass production products, and certainly not in the vicinity of residential areas. “Ever since the company established itself, Bayer has endeavoured by exerting pressure and making threats to suppress information and criticism–also at Institute. The truth and the interests of humans and the environment are left by the wayside,” she added.

However, after the incident in 2008, Bayer announced a plan to curb its MIC stockpile by 80 per cent. Then, in January 2011, Bayer said that it was phasing out the production and use of MIC as part of a corporate restructuring that the company said at the time would cost the neighbouring Kanawha river valley about 220 jobs over several years.

According to a release by EPA, Bayer CropScience will be spending approximately US $452,000 on a series of measures to improve safety at chemical storage facilities across the United States and US $4.23 million to improve emergency preparedness and response in Institute and protect the Kanawha River. Bayer CropScience will also pay a US $975,000 penalty.

“The multiple safety failures that existed at this facility that led to loss of life demonstrate why safeguards are necessary to protect people’s health and the environment,” said EPA mid-Atlantic regional administrator Shawn M Garvin. The nearly US $4.23 million for environmental projects will benefit the Institute community by improving mobile communication for emergency response units and training for local fire and police departments, shelter-in-place training and hazardous waste collections at local public schools and installing equipment to prevent pollution from water used in Bayer CropScience’s as well as other units’ manufacturing process from reaching the Kanawha River.

According to Satinath Sarangi, founder member of the non-profit, Bhopal Group for Information and Action,that has been working closely with the victims, the outcome of the Bayer settlement may not have any bearing with the ERI case in the US Courts. “However, it is relevant and I wish our courts also dealt with the polluters in a similar way,” he said. According to ERI, the decision may come in two to four months.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Ethecon awards 2014/2015 – Black Planet Award denounces the chairman of the board Andrew Liveris and board member James Ringler and the major shareholders of DOW CHEMICAL

The follow Press Release appears in: Englishespañol,  deutsch  and français.

ethecon honours the Sudan activist Tomo Križnar and shames the manager and major shareholders of DOW CHEMICAL / Public ceremony of awarding the ethecon awards and presentation „Stop FRONTEX!“

On occasion of the International Day of Peace on September 21st, 2015, ethecon – Foundation Ethics & Economy announces the recipients’ names of the two familiar ethecon awards 2014/2015.

The International ethecon Blue Planet Award honours the efforts of Slovenian activist for human rights and peace Tomo Križnar, the International ethecon Black Planet Award denounces the chairman of the board Andrew Liveris and board member James Ringler and the major shareholders of the chemicals group DOW CHEMICAL (USA).

The awards ceremony will take place November 21st in Berlin’s “Pfefferwerk”.

Over many years Tomo Križnar has been working in Sudan at the risk of jeopardising his own life between the fronts of the raging war, and he stands up for sustainable peace. The board members and major shareholders of DOW CHEMICAL are, among others, responsible for 30 years continuing of the impacts of the greatest chemical disaster in the history of industries in Bhopal/India.

Mia Farrow said about Tomo Križnar: „‘There is no one remotely like Tomo Kriznar. Over decades, with singular courage and conviction he has journeyed through the most remote and perilous parts of Darfur and Southern Sudan documenting atrocities, taking photographs and compiling information that is as invaluable as his humanitarian endeavours.’ “

It is more different when looking at the board members Andrew Liveris and James Ringler as well as the major shareholders of the chemicals group DOW CHEMICAL (USA). The justification Black Planet Award 2014/2015 they say: „No matter, if party contributions during election campaigns, tax evasion, environmental destruction, from support of genetic engineering to radioactive contamination, manipulated measurements, war mongering, price manipulation, corruption – DOW CHEMICAL is involved in countless crimes against humans and environment. The company’s president and chairman of the board and supervisory board Andrew Liveris, the member of the board and audit committee James M. Ringler as well as the group’s major shareholders are the ones that need to be held responsible for the decisions and actions at DOW CHEMICAL (USA). They own the group. They run the company. They are acting to increase their personal power and private wealth. To this end, they ride roughshod over morality and ethics and hazard our planet being turned into a Black Planet.“ (Justification International ethecon Black Planet Award 2014/15 from 21/09/2015)

With the decision of shaming the board members Andrew Liveris and James Ringler as well as the major shareholders of DOW Chemical, ethecon’s curatorship and board are explicitly referring to the proposal for a human rights charter “Health, Safety and Environmental Rights of Workers and Communities” passed in 1994 by Permant Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT), and the United Nations’ human rights charter,

The International ethecon Awards will take place during a public ceremony. The honorific speech for Tomo Križnar will be delivered by Alfred Buss, Amnesty International, coordinator Sudan/Southern Sudan, the shaming speech for the board members and major shareholders of DOW CHEMICAL will be delivered by Indian doctor Dr Mali Muttanna Mallappa of Sambhavna Trust Clinic/ Bhopal.

The ceremony will be framed into the ethecon congress about the latest topic „Stop FRONTEX – fight refugee causes and not refugees!”. The presentation will be done by a famous representative of ProAsyl.

The ethecon congress including the ceremony of the ethecon Awards will take place:

Saturday, 21/11/2015
“Pfefferwerk” on Pfefferberg
(Schönhauser Allee 176)
Starting at 14.00 pm (entrance at 13 pm)
Attendance at the congress is free, but notifiable
info@ethecon.org
Further information
at www.ethecon.org .

Both positive and negative awards have been awarded since 2006. Awarded annually, the International ethecon Blue Planet Award honours outstanding efforts for the preservation and rescue of our Blue Planet. The International ethecon Black Planet Award denounces people who bear responsibility for the shocking ruin and destruction of the earth and thus have created risk of a Black Planet.

————-

Over the past years, the International ethecon Blue Planet Award has gone to Diane Wilson/USA (2006), Vandana Shiva/India (2007), José Abreu and Hugo Chávez/Venezuela (2008), Uri Avnery/Israel (2009), Elias Bierdel/Austria (2010), Angela Davis/USA (2011), Jean Ziegler/Switzerland (2012) and Esther Bejarano/Germany (2013). By receiving the International ethecon Black Planet Award, on the other hand, managers and major shareholders of the following groups have been shamed: MONSANTO/USA (2006), NESTLÉ/Switzerland (2007), BLACKWATER (XE)/USA (2008), Formosa Plastics Group/Taiwan (2009), BP/UK (2010), TEPCO/Japan (2011), GLENCORE/Switzerland (2012) and DEUTSCHE BANK/Germany (2013).

Unlike many foundations funded by a certain company, family, church, political party or state, ethecon is one of the few “bottom-up” foundations, currently supported by 39 donors and committed to future generations by campaigning “for a world free from exploitation and repression!” Our young foundation depends on donations and support through members.

————-

For further information, please contact:
Tanja Brouwers
Fon: +49 (0)211 – 22 95 09 21
e-Mail: tb@ethecon.org

_______

ethecon
Foundation Ethics & Economy

Board

Schweidnitzer Str. 41
D-40231 Düsseldorf
Germany
Fon +49 – (0)211 – 26 11 210
e-Mail: aks@ethecon.org
Internet: www.ethecon.org

Only if we develop and implement environmentally friendly and humane economic and societal models can we ward off the threat of ecological and social disasters. ethecon – Foundation Ethics & Economy takes the long, inter-generational view and campaigns with vision and perspective.

Donations to:

EthikBank
BIC   GENODEF1ETK
IBAN DE 58 830 944 95 000 30 45 536

Continue reading Ethecon awards 2014/2015 – Black Planet Award denounces the chairman of the board Andrew Liveris and board member James Ringler and the major shareholders of DOW CHEMICAL

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Bhopal Water Pollution Victims Ask Appeals Court to Hold Union Carbide Accountable

Today, lawyers representing communities living near the site of the world’s worst industrial disaster, the Bhopal Gas Disaster, will argue to the U.S Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that Union Carbide Corp. (UCC) is responsible for water pollution from the same plant that continues to foul local wells. Over a year ago a New York federal district court found that UCC could not be sued, despite compelling evidence that UCC caused the harm.

“The Plaintiffs have provided substantial evidence that demonstrates UCC’s responsibility,” said Richard Herz, Senior Litigation Attorney for EarthRights International (ERI), which represents the plaintiffs. “Two leading experts concluded that UCC’s technology and waste disposal strategy for the plant was improper for the site, and caused the water pollution that we still see today.”

Additionally, the manager who oversaw the construction of the plant confirmed that he worked for UCC, not for the Indian subsidiary that officially operated the plant. But the federal district court ruled that UCC was not sufficiently involved in the acts at the plant and that the project manager actually worked for the subsidiary. Because the plaintiffs believe that the district court improperly disregarded evidence of UCC’s responsibility, they appealed to the Second Circuit.

On December 2, 1984, poisonous gas from the Bhopal chemical plant enveloped nearby communities, killing thousands. The water pollution here is unrelated to the Gas Disaster, but has been leaching from the same plant ever since it was shut down afterward.

Marco Simons, ERI’s General Counsel, added, “These families have been living with Union Carbide’s pollution for decades. We remain committed to seeking the justice that they deserve.”

The case, Sahu v. Union Carbide Corp., is No. 14-3087 in the Second Circuit. In addition to ERI, the plaintiffs are represented by Rajan Sharma of Sharma & DeYoung, the Law Offices of Curtis V. Trinko, and Hausfeld, LLP.

Contact:

Marco Simons
+1 (202) 466 5188 x103
marco@earthrights.org

Photo by Jack Laurenson
Information taken from EarthRights International.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

LowDOWn – July 2015

Bhopal LowDOWn – July 2015

Brought to you by the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal

In this issue:

1. Press Releases

2. Remembering Daya Varma and Ward Morehouse
 

3. In the News

4. Take Action!
 
5. Call for Coordinating Committee Members (2015-2016) 

6. Support the Bhopal Campaign


1. Press Releases

  • June 5, 2015 – Residents of Water-Contaminated Areas Ask the Government of India “When Will Union Carbide’s Toxic Waste Be Cleaned Up”? Read the Press Release here.
  • May 26, 2015 – Modi Government Completes One Year – Bhopal Gas Victims Have Nothing to Cheer About. Read the Press Release here.

  • March 17, 2015 – Bhopal Gas Victims Condemn Repeated Non-Appearance of the Dow Chemical Company, USA in the Bhopal District Court. Read the Press Release here.
2. Remembering Daya Varma and Ward MorehouseDr. Daya Varma, life-long communist, scientist, activist, dreamer, pharmacologist, professor emeritus at McGill University, Montreal, passed away on March 22 2015. Please join us in honoring the life of Daya Varma, a long-time supporter of Bhopal gas survivors, who carried out much-needed medical research on the impact of the disaster. You can read about his life and legacy by clicking here.

“Daya inspired as much through his knowledge and talents as through his humility and simplicity. A multi-splendored personality who will be sorely missed by many across the world and especially those in Montreal where he lived half a century and left his mark on many institutions of social relevance. A life truly worth celebrating!” – TK Raghunathan

June 30th 2015 marked the third anniversary of the passing of Ward Morehouse. To read aboutWard’s life as a human rights and anti-corporate activis activist please click here.

“Ward was a personal mentor to me, and one of the founders of the modern anti-corporate personhood
movement. 
He was gentle, patient and kind to people, and a fierce and tireless warrior for peace, justice, ecology and democracy. I feel honored to have known him as a colleague, and lucky to have known him as a friend.” – David Cobb 

3. In the News

4. Take Action

  • The year of Modi’s rule, is a year of deliberate laxity by the government towards the criminal American corporations and neglect towards the medical care and economic rehabilitation of the victims. Tweet @narendramodi and don’t forget to use #bhopal30We’ve already composed a sample tweet for you. To send your tweet click here.
  • CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees), Local 3906 at McMaster University Endorses the Bhopal Campaign! For support in getting your union to do the same, contact us at justice@bhopal.net 
  • Support the upcoming documentary, Bhopal 84

In the early eighties Musharraf Ali bought a video camera to film weddings at his hometown of Bhopal in central India. On the night of December 2, 1984, forty-three tons of toxic gases leaked from massive storage chambers within Union Carbide’s Bhopal plant into the surrounding city, killing thousands overnight. Mr. Musharraf fled with his family and neighbors to safety. Two days later he returned to ground zero in Bhopal, moved to record with his ‘wedding camera’ everything he observed in the first days after the disaster. Fearing arrest and confiscation from Indian authorities, he kept the tapes for over twenty years without showing them to anyone. “Bhopal 84” makes this footage public for the first time.

Read more at: http://www.bhopal84.com/

5. Call for Coordinating Committee Members (2015-2016)ICJB North America is looking for Coordinating Committee (CC) members for 2015/2016. As part of the CC, you will be responsible for helping develop the campaign in North America. Below are a list of the positions we are seeking:

  • Fundraising Coordinator
    Key tasks: maintain donor relations, expand ICJB fundraising efforts, send annual donor mailing, hold at least 1 fundraising campaign (online or offline)
    Experience: Fundraising background or similar
    Time commitment: 2-4 hours a week

  • Education Coordinator
    Key tasks: Continue development and execution of the Curriculum Package, Continue to build educational resources
    Experience: Curriculum background an asset, passion for education
    Time commitment: 2-4 hours a week

  • Dow Coordinator
    Key tasks: Plan shareholder protest, Track Dow Chemical in the news
    Experience: Previous experience in corporate accountability campaigns
    Time commitment: 2-4 hours a week

To apply please email justice@bhopal.net with responses to the following:

1) Why are you interested in the position(s)?
2) What skills do you bring to the position(s)?
3) What prior experience do you have with the Bhopal gas disaster and/or ICJB?

6. Support the Bhopal Campaign!

As a campaign that works on corporate accountability, we do not accept corporate funding. The Bhopalis need individual supporters like you to sustain their fight for justice. Remember that while many environmental and human rights organizations support the Bhopalis’ cause, ICJB is the only international organization that is led by the survivors and that fundraises to directly benefit the struggle as envisioned by the survivors. Because of the currency exchange value, even very small recurring amounts make a huge difference! Make a tax-deductible donation (in the U.S.) here.
 

  • Volunteer (e-mail justice@bhopal.net for more information)
    Bhopal.net needs your help! We’re looking for volunteers to help organize old posts so the site is more accessible. All you’ll need is a computer and a steady internet connection. Can you spare just one or two hours a week to help out?

  • Join our Facebook Group Here and Visit our Page Here

  • Follow us on Twitter Here.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Taipan Releases New Music Video: White Fog of Bhopal

Taipan Logo

Taipan Releases New Music Video “Bhopal,”

Worst Gas Tragedy In History:

International thrash band tells the hidden truth.

Taipan’s new music video, “White Fog of Bhopal” is a powerful song about the Bhopal Gas Tragedy in India, 1984. On December 3rd at 1am, poisonous gas vapors burst from the Union Carbide pesticide plant, owned by Dow Chemical. The white fog crawled through the city and killed thousands while they slept. More than 23,000 men, women and children died and over 300,000 people have suffered injuries and slow deaths over the years from the incident. The chemicals have soaked into the ground and made the drinking water and soil toxic. Thirty years later, the residents of Bhopal, India are still suffering and living with generations of birth defects, blindness and mental anguish.

Taipan’s video for “White Fog of Bhopal” is an animated music video mixed with live studio appearances by Aaron Rossi, Chris Poland, Tony Campos, Zak Kupcha and Michael Black. Poland, the x Megadeth guitarist contributes to the song with haunting solos, adding a creeping ambiance lacking in modern thrash metal. Aaron Rossi crushes the drums and Michael Black’s vocals are both aggressive and powerful, reminiscent of the darkness and pain looming over Bhopal for the past thirty years.

“This video will shock and educate the metal world, possibly the entire world. Taipan is honored to use their influence and talented members to bring this prolonged crisis to the forefront of the metal world”, -Michael Black

“White Fog of Bhopal” is endorsed by The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal. The nonprofit will use the video to protest the tragedy and honor the thirty-year anniversary of one of the worst chemical leaks in history.

“White Fog of Bhopal” video was directed by Circulation Media and co-produced by Underground Dead World Productions in Puerto Rico and the U.S. label, Dead Sea Records. “White Fog of Bhopal” is featured on Taipan’s upcoming album, due to be released August 31st, 2015, and is produced by Logan Mader (Butcher Babies, Soulfly, Five Finger Death Punch, Black Oil, Devil Driver), who serves as guest producer on four songs for the upcoming album.

They say knowledge is power, but Taipan’s video “White Fog of Bhopal” will be even more powerful.

The video can be seen here:

For more information about Taipan and their upcoming album release see: www.taipanofficial.com

For Press Echo Eyes Entertainment information@echoeyes.com

Taipan Members

TAIPAN From L to R: Drew Petropoulos, Cory Llewelyn, Zak Kupcha, Michael Black, Aaron Rossi

White Fog of Bhopal - Picture

“White For of Bhopal” music video due out August 1st, 2015

Images from the video:

unnamed-3 unnamed-4

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail