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News Releases from Region 03

Court Approves Settlement, Bayer CropScience to Enhance Safeguards at Chemical Facilities for Violations at W.Va. Plant

Contact Information: 
Bonnie Smith (smith.bonnie@epa.gov)

PHILADELPHIA (August 12, 2016) –  The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia approved the settlement that requires Bayer CropScience LP to pay $5.6 million for a penalty and safety improvements to resolve violations of federal chemical accident prevention laws, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice announced today.  The violations occurred at Bayer’s facility in Institute, W. Va., where a 2008 explosion killed two people.

In the Court’s memorandum opinion and order, Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr., stated, “the evidence indicates that the 2008 explosion was the result of numerous, grave safety deficiencies at the plant.”  He further comments, “the proposed consent decree would minimize the risk of reoccurrence through its extensive reporting, approved self-assessment, and standard operating procedure revision requirements applicable not only at the Institute facility but at other Bayer plants in the United States and any others that are built or purchased by Bayer during the next ten years ...”

“We are very pleased with the Court’s decision,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin.  “This settlement supports the need for stronger worker safety and environmental protection measures involving the handling and storage of hazardous chemicals at Bayer’s facility in Institute and their other plants around the country.  It will also fund 15 protective community-based projects including hazardous chemical cleanouts at 17 area high schools and provide response equipment for responders in eight communities and two police departments.”

Under the settlement, Bayer CropScience will spend $4.23 million to improve emergency preparedness and response in the Institute, W.Va. area, pay a $975,000 penalty, and spend approximately $452,000 to implement a series of measures to improve safety at their chemical storage facilities across the United States.

For a copy of the Court’s decision, visit: https://semspub.epa.gov/src/document/03/2232996

­­­­­­For a copy of the proposed Consent Decree, visit: https://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/21b8983ffa5d0e4685257dd4006b85e2/fb43a837cdbe194085257ec7006d9f46!OpnDocument