The most significant environmental disaster since the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf is unfolding in West Virginia’s Kanawha Valley. The cause of the spill and corporate and government response are eerily familiar. Chemical Valley, an Appalshop documentary. covers events in the valley in the wake of Union Carbide’s Bhopal disaster and a series of frightening chemical leaks that led citizens to demand the right to know and be protected from the toxic chemicals being produced and stored there.

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About Chemical Valley:

"They killed the Indians. Now they're killing the hillbillies!" -- Institute, WV resident Yolanda Sims

On Dec. 3, 1984, the worst industrial accident in history occurred when a toxic gas known as MIC leaked from a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India. At least 3500 people were killed, and over 50,000 were permanently disabled. The tragedy in Bhopal brought international attention to the predominantly African American community of Institute, West Virginia, site of the only Union Carbide plant in the United States that manufactured MIC.

Chemical Valley begins with Bhopal and the immediate response in the Kanawha Valley, an area once dubbed by residents "the chemical capital of the world" because of the many plants operated by such industrial giants as Monsanto, DuPont, FMC, and Union Carbide. The program then follows events in the valley over the next five years as lines are drawn and all sides heard in the debate between those who fear for their livelihood and those who fear for their lives. Chemical Valley explores issues of job blackmail, racism, and citizens' right to know and to act as it documents one community's struggle to make accountable an industry that has all too often forced communities to choose between safety and jobs.

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