With the January 9 chemical leak from Freedom Industries leading to the water supply being compromised for 300,000 residents who rely on West Virginia American Water, the ripple effects are sure to impact our state, our region, and possibly even the entire nation on environmental, political, and cultural levels. Yet, concerns over the safety of the environment and health of the local population are nothing new around the Kanawha Valley.
Mimi Pickering and Anne Lewis of Appalshop produced a 1991 documentary titled Chemical Valley about events in the Kanawha Valley in the wake of Union Carbide’s Bhopal disaster in 1984 and a series of frightening chemical leaks that led citizens to demand the right to know and to be protected from toxic chemicals produced and stored there.
In describing her film, Pickering said Chemical Valley: “looks at the realities of environmental racism as residents of Institute describe the price they pay, and the few rewards they receive, from living next to this dangerous plant.”
You can watch the hour-long film in two parts here: