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Judge Clarifies MIC Production Ban

A federal judge says Bayer CropScience can conduct activities related to reconfiguring the methyl isocyanate unit as long as it isn't produced or manufactured.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A federal judge says Bayer CropScience can conduct activities related to reconfiguring the methyl isocyanate unit at its Institute plant, as long as the highly toxic chemical isn't produced or manufactured.

U.S. District Judge Robert R. Goodwin issued a temporary restraining order last week barring the plant from producing or manufacturing MIC. The order came in a lawsuit filed by residents and others who fear an accidental release of the chemical. A 1984 MIC leak at a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, killed thousands.

Bayer CropScience officials said Monday that they plan to reduce MIC storage by 80 percent and eliminate all above-ground storage in efforts to enhance safety. The company also plans to invest in new production, safety and communications equipment.

The Charleston Gazette reports that Goodwin clarified the order Sunday in response to a motion filed by Bayer seeking permission to conduct activities such as completing installation and testing of safety equipment.
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