Dow Fails to Appear in Court for the Third Time over Toxic Disaster
Is Dow above the law?
Leaders of 5 organizations representing survivors of the Dow Chemical (Union Carbide) disaster in Bhopal, India condemned the US government for protecting Dow from ongoing criminal proceedings in the Bhopal District court. Dow Chemical failed to appear in court for the third time recently to account for exposing half a million people to the deadly gas, methyl isocyanate. 
The December 2nd, 1984 incident involved a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, a subsidiary of Dow, which began leaking 27 tons of the deadly gas. None of the 6 safety systems designed to contain such a leak were operational, allowing the gas to spread throughout the city of Bhopal. More than 120,000 people still suffer from ailments caused by the accident and the subsequent pollution at the plant site.
Representatives of the survivors of the Bhopal incident said the US Department of Justice decided not to serve the notices against Dow Chemical, stating that they could not be held liable for the Union Carbide disaster.
Counsel for one of the organizations, Bhopal Group for Information & Action, Avi Singh said the U.S. Department of Justice’s refusal to serve notice on Dow was against the principle of international cooperation against crime as enshrined in the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.
Dow Chemical refers to the Bhopal court’s notice at its own website and has thus publicly acknowledged the summons from the court. Accordingly, even without the US Department of Justice’s collusion, there was no need for further notice to be served on Dow.
On behalf of the Bhopal Group for Information & Action, Mr. Singh moved an application in the court to commence ex parte proceedings against Dow Chemical as well as refer them for contempt of court, and filing of a FIR under sections 174 (obstruction of a public official) and 212 (harboring a fugitive) of the IPC.
Most recently, Dow has created the ‘three-gene herbicide tolerant’ Enlist E3 soybean, and up for review is Dow’s 2,4-D and Glufosinate-Tolerant Soybean (APHIS-2012-0019) meant to be used with a combination of carcinogenic organophosphates like glyphosate and additional herbicidal chemicals.
When will Dow finally own up to its crimes?
Featured image credit: (AP Photo)
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.