Allyssa Sobey

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Geology and Geography

Committee Chair

Bradley Wilson

Committee Co-Chair

Ann Oberhauser

Committee Member

Daniel Renfrew


On December 2, 1984 a lethal cloud of Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) - a key chemical ingredient used to manufacture agricultural pesticides- leaked from a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India. The release covered approximately nine miles and consisted of 40 tons of MIC, causing an estimated 2500 immediate fatalities and more than 10,000 deaths within a week of the event. While the Bhopal disaster captured global headlines and sparked transnational anti-toxics and environmental justice movements, the largest production and storage facility for MIC in the world was located in the Institute Industrial Park- just a few miles west of Charleston, West Virginia. Situated within several predominantly African American communities, the Institute Industrial Park had been producing noxious chemicals to manufacture pesticides since the early 1960s. The Bhopal disaster reinvigorated a local anti-toxics group in Institute- People Concerned About MIC (PCMIC) - that was able to successfully eradicate MIC from the Institute plant. Rooted in discussions of scale, environmental justice and locational conflict literatures, and the role of complex structural processes, this paper explores the geographic context through which PCMIC activists form and frame their grievances. Using Bullard's foundational work, Dumping in Dixie, as a point of departure for discussion, this project aims to understand how activists within PCMIC frame their struggle through an analysis of protest materials, public documents published by PCMIC, and several oral histories provided by key informants.