And Dow’s response:
We have sympathy for the plight of those who were victims of the Bhopal tragedy and the fact that the site has not been cleaned up. I think we would all agree that these issues need to be addressed. The solution to this problem, however, rests in the hands of the Indian central and state governments and recent media reports indicate that they are working to get the site cleaned up. As there are those who wish to unfairly attach liability to Dow for the Bhopal issue, we are not in a position to contribute to these efforts. Dow has a fiduciary responsibility to its employees, retirees and shareholders to not take on liability risks that are not ours to bear. That said, Dow and its subsidiaries’ commitment to the communities in which we operate is significant.
I’ve provided information below that addresses the specific question of liability raised by Mr. Edwards:
Liability was settled by Union Carbide Corporation in 1989 and they have no outstanding liability for Bhopal Union Carbide Corporation and the former Union Carbide India Limited (now Eveready Industries India Limited) settled their liabilities regarding the Bhopal tragedy with the Indian government in 1989 and this settlement was upheld by the Indian Supreme Court in 1991.
Union Carbide Corporation stopped doing business in India in 1994—with the permission of the Government of India, it sold its interest in Union Carbide India Limited in 1994 and the proceeds were used to build a state-of-the-art hospital in Bhopal to treat victims of the tragedy (a bit of history here—after UCC sold its interest in Union Carbide India Limited, the new owner renamed the company Eveready Industries India Limited. Eveready was doing some remediation at the Bhopal plant when the State Government of Madhya Pradesh revoked the lease of Everyeady and took ownership of the plant site in 1998.
The site was then, and is now, under the ownership of the state government of Madhya Pradesh. As I noted earlier, this has been the case since 1998 and for whatever reason most of us do not know or fully understand, the site remains unremediated. As owners of the site, the Madhya Pradesh government is the entity that has the ability and, more importantly, the authority to ensure that the plant site gets cleaned up. And they are trying to clean up the site. Recent media reports in India indicate that the State Government is, in fact, attempting to implement their remediation plan—see Times of India article attached at end of email. Please also see Union Carbide’s web site on Bhopal for full details of the sale of UCIL).
Union Carbide Corporation remains a separate company. It has its own board of directors, its own financial reporting, its own manufacturing facilities and its own employees. And, more importantly, UCC manages its own liabilities.
Dow did not inherit nor does it manage Union Carbide Corporation’s liabilities. UCC manages its own liabilities and reports these to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. You will not that there is no mention of Bhopal in Union Carbide Corporation’s report to the SEC. This is because Union Carbide settled this liability with the Government of India in 1989.
To recap: The Dow Chemical Company is not a successor-in-interest to Union Carbide Corporation. Successor-in-interest is a legal term. One legal precondition to Dow becoming a successor-in-interest is that Union Carbide would no longer exist as a separate corporation. However, UCC does exist as a separate corporation and I have provide a link to their most recent 10Q report.
I have also attached for you the link to The Dow Chemical Company’s position on Bhopal found on dow.com. This link will also attach to Union Carbide Corporations’ Web site regarding the Bhopal tragedy and I would encourage you to visit that as well.
Scot Wheeler, Spokesman, Dow Chemical Company
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