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Bayer CropScience Announces Investment of $25 Million for Institute Site

INSTITUTE, W.Va., Aug. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Bayer CropScience today announced an investment of $25 million for further enhancing operational safety at its Institute, W.Va. site. As part of these plans, the company will reduce methyl isocyanate (MIC) storage by 80 percent. This reduction will lead to the elimination of the transfer, use and storage of MIC at the site's West Carbamoylation Center within approximately one year. After completion of these measures, there will be no MIC storage above ground anywhere on the site.

Bayer CropScience President & CEO Bill Buckner said, "While MIC was not involved in the explosion at the Institute site in August last year, we have taken seriously the concerns of public officials and the site's neighbors, and we are making very substantial changes in how we operate our facility in the future."

A number of changes have already been implemented, including the hiring of an emergency services leader to interact with public emergency responders and new procedures, including dedicated phone lines and back-up radios, for communicating with Metro 911. Buckner added that the site also had participated recently in a successful emergency drill with the Kanawha Putnam Emergency Planning Committee.

"Within approximately one year we also will cease production of all MIC-based products currently manufactured in the West Carbamoylation Center," Buckner stated. As part of this, the company will not reconstruct the methomyl facility. To offset changes in Bayer CropScience's production, the industrial park will seek new tenants so to maintain a substantial business presence in the Kanawha Valley. Company officials said today they will work with state and federal officials to attract new businesses to the 465-acre site.

The company aims at implementing these changes to the site's production with the least amount of impact on the employees.

Beyond the changes announced today, Bayer CropScience will continue to evaluate the feasibility of further measures, which may also include the use of alternative process technologies.

In going forward, the company will also continue its dialogue and close cooperation with the community and governmental agencies involved.

The Bayer CropScience Institute site is a manufacturing industrial park located near Charleston, W. Va. Among the companies with operating facilities at the site are Bayer CropScience, The Dow Chemical Company, FMC, and Praxair. These companies manufacture active ingredients for agricultural, industrial, personal care and other products. Total employment at the site is approximately 700 people.

SOURCE Bayer CropScience AG
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