State steps in to temporarily shut down BD plant in Covington

Attorney General Chris Carr has filed an injunction motion seeking to have the Becton Dickinson Plant in Covington to temporarily cease operations until additional safeguards are in place. Those safeguards would include constant monitoring.

At its City Council meeting Monday night Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston read a text from the AG’s office, who with Governor Kemp’s Office and the state’s Environmental Protection Division, are filing a petition for an injunction to temporarily halt the sterilization process at the BD plant.

“It means they are going to court to get a stop junction on them until further controls can be proved before we let them reopen,” Mayor Johnston said.

FOX 5 News obtained the legal paperwork from the Attorney General’s Office minutes after Mayor Johnston made the announcement. The injunction is welcome news for worried residents who heard from a representative of the company which conducted independent testing for Covington. The results showed "particularly high levels" of EtO in neighborhoods near the plant.

“This is whew, I just want to lead off to you and the whole city council,” Jason McCarthy with Say NO TO EtO said at the podium.

Another member Cindy Jordan, asked people with cancer or who had relatives with cancer to stand. She then asked about a cancer cluster study.

“We are concerned as a community about the high levels we want to specifically ask for a cancer cluster study to be done in this area,” said Jordan from the podium.

RELATED: Covington mayor asks BD plant to cease operations after independent tests for EtO

As many in the community seek answers about the long-term effects of EtO, the Mayor cautioned about coming to conclusions. He told FOX 5 News this injunction goes is in the right direction, even if it’s unknown how long it’ll take to get the information.

“It’s going to be a pause but it’ll be a good pause to allow everything together. Do some testing to verify and then let’s get back to business,” said Mayor Johnston.

A BD representative sent FOX 5 News a statement which read in part:

“The Attorney General’s action is an unnecessary move given the company’s high level of cooperation and is inconsistent with our continued dialogue with the state to implement voluntary improvements at our Covington facility.

“We will vigorously defend the company and patients’ ability to access critical medical devices using science-based evidence to ensure that patients are not harmed from unnecessary decisions by the State of Georgia that are not based on sound legal or scientific grounds.”