The group also insists the industry is already well regulated by a variety of federal bodies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.
West Virginia is home to 150 chemical and polymer manufacturing companies that employ 12,800 workers, the council says.
Although that's a fraction of the nearly 14,000 chemical businesses nationwide, West Virginia's companies "provide the raw materials critical to the function of virtually every other domestic industry, on both a regional and national level," the council says.
Figures for 2008 show West Virginia's chemical industry generated $720 million in direct payroll and $1.36 billion in wages for suppliers and other related businesses. The council also claims the industry generated $220 million in federal personal income taxes and $40 million in state and local income taxes.
"The promotion of consistent, uniform regulation, avoidance of unexpected disruptions in the supply of useful, important products, and the protection of well-paying jobs ... has high social value," the brief argues. "Accordingly, this court should hesitate before intervening in the operation of a heavily regulated, chemical manufacturing unit."
For decades, Bayer CropScience and previous owners of the sprawling Institute complex have made MIC, which is used in pesticides. Production was halted last August for upgrades to the unit, but Bayer CropScience announced it would start making the chemical again this year and continue through mid-2012 before halting permanently.
Concern over the storage of MIC resurfaced after a 2008 explosion near the tank killed two plant workers.
As he weighs the current lawsuit, Goodwin has questioned whether Bayer CropScience has done enough to make its MIC facilities safe. The company says it has reduced its MIC stockpile by 80 percent and eliminated all aboveground storage.
The plaintiffs have also subpoenaed two state officials -- Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Randy Huffman and DEP environmental advocate Pam Nixon -- to testify about the implementation of recommendations made earlier this year by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board.
In a separate court filing, the DEP says Nixon has no relevant information, and Huffman's dealings with the case have been limited. They requested the subpoenas be waived and that the court instead question Mike Dorsey, the DEP's chief of homeland security and emergency response.
That motion has been referred to a magistrate for a ruling.