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East Palestine

Whistleblower: EPA Didn’t Follow Normal Procedures In East Palestine

An EPA whistleblower has stepped forward, saying the Environmental Protection Agency deviated from normal procedures when testing for chemical contamination after a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. On Feb. 6, 2023, officials in East Palestine, Ohio, vented and burned five tank cars full of vinyl chloride after a Norfolk Southern train derailed near the town. Three days later, the Environmental Protection Agency gave the all-clear for evacuated residents to return to the area. Immediately, people in the area began complaining of sickness and rashes. “I undressed to get into the shower, and I had a rash all over the side of my face on both sides and all over my chest,” said resident Katlyn Schwarzwaelder.

A New Coalition Demands Healthcare And Justice For East Palestine

This Saturday, March 23, unionists and labor leaders, environmental justice groups, community organizers, community members from other “sacrifice zones,” and supporters from around the country are coming to East Palestine to join residents as part of the newly formed Justice for East Palestine Residents and Workers coalition. The coalition has come together in recent months and mobilized around the core objective of pressuring President Biden to invoke the Stafford Act and issue a major disaster declaration for East Palestine.

Judge Allows East Palestine Residents’ Lawsuit Against Norfolk Southern

A class action suit accusing Norfolk Southern of negligence over the train derailment that released toxic chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio, last year can go forward, a federal judge determined Wednesday. Judge Benita Yalonda Pearson rejected the railroad’s arguments that claims in the suit were protected by federal law regulating railroads, instead ruling that the case focuses on activity that is not covered by protections. The suit represents about 500,000 people and businesses near the eastern Ohio town where nearly 40 railcars derailed last year, some of which contained toxic vinyl chloride.

The Koch Network Is Killing Rail Safety

One year after a toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, inspired bipartisan legislation that would have made the nation’s railways safer for everyone, the bill has been all but killed — largely thanks to a familiar conservative foe: the Koch network. Koch Industries, the parent company of various petrochemical subsidiaries run for decades by Charles Koch and his now-deceased brother David, spent nearly $8 million in the past year lobbying on the legislation and other issues, as well as donated $1.4 million to Republican lawmakers who helped stall the legislation. The effort was part of nearly $200 million the conglomerate has spent in the past decade to persuade lawmakers and regulators to block railway safety legislation and other measures — including reforms that could have helped avoid the East Palestine disaster.

Is East Palestine Safe One Year After The Ohio Train Derailment?

If there hadn’t been construction planned for the bridge that crosses over Leslie Run, one of the creeks that runs through the middle of East Palestine, Ohio, Rick Tsai and Randy DeHaven might not have noticed the worst contamination they’d seen in the creek in weeks. A backhoe had hoisted a chunk of earth from the bank of the creek, leaving a pool about eight feet across and deep enough to come up to the knees of Tsai’s rubber fishing waders. What it also left, in Tsai’s words, was an opportunity for a sort of “geological sample” — evidence that oil and chemicals still lingered in the soil and in the creeks six months after a catastrophic derailment.

Public Ownership Of Rail Is On The Agenda

Nearly one year ago, on the night of February 3, 2023, a Norfolk Southern freight train carrying hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. Videos of the smoke and fire released by the nearly two-mile-long train went viral, and residents in the community reported severe health effects. The rail disaster triggered an outcry: Why did this happen, and what can any of us do about it? Soon, there were articles detailing the alarming state into which the country’s railroads have fallen: accidents are up, and oversight is hard to come by. Plus, there is a severe squeeze on rail workers, many of whom lack sick days of any kind and are effectively always on call.

Corporate Cash Derails Train Safety Bill

The company that manufactured the toxic chemicals that were released and incinerated in the wake of the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment this winter gave $2 million to the primary Senate GOP super PAC as bipartisan rail safety legislation stalled in Congress. The manufacturer, Occidental Petroleum, has been lobbying on rail and tank car safety, and its lobbying group, the American Chemistry Council — which also donated $250,000 to the main House GOP super PAC — had pushed for changes weakening the bill in committee. The railroad legislation, introduced in the immediate aftermath of the East Palestine disaster, was once seen as the first real shot at imposing new regulations on the railroad industry in years.

Victims Of The East Palestine Train Disaster Still Fighting For Their Lives

On February 3, 2023, a Norfolk Southern Railroad train carrying 150 cars, some containing toxic chemicals, derailed in the small town of East Palestine, Ohio on the border with Pennsylvania. The residents in the immediate area were evacuated but the 100,000 gallons of chemicals, including vinyl chloride, that spilled spread throughout the region. Now, over six months later, many residents still cannot return to their homes. Hilary Flint of Enon Valley, Pennsylvania, the vice president of the Unity Council for the East Palestine Train Derailment joined Clearing the FOG to describe what happened, the failures of the local, state and federal governments to provide what affected residents need and how they are organizing to pressure President Biden to grant Governor DeWine's request for an emergency declaration and more.

Activists Rally For East Palestine Residents To Get Free Health Care

Joy Marie Mann was not expecting a large crowd Friday night, but she was heartened that some of her close friends and fellow activists traveled from across the country to meet ahead of a health care rally in Ohio. "They're just very passionate people who are just very caring and support nationally improved 'Medicare for All' and believe in human rights," said Marie Mann, a health care activist from Harrisburg. In between interviews, speeches and a short candlelight vigil, Mann and the other activists at Schenley Park spoke to each other about their plans to attend a "Medicare for All" rally in Lisbon, Ohio.

Norfolk Southern Won’t Clean Up Their Mess Unless We Make Them

It’s been over 100 days since the catastrophic derailment of a Norfolk Southern train carrying over 100,000 gallons of toxic materials occurred in East Palestine, Ohio, on Feb 3. Since then, residents of East Palestine and the surrounding area in Ohio and Pennsylvania have had their lives turned completely upside down. Entire families have been uprooted from their homes, with many having to live in hotels or wherever they can find shelter, unable to return home out of fear of exposure to chemicals that were spilled into the water and soil from the derailment and spewed into the air from Norfolk Southern’s ​“controlled burn” of the vinyl chloride contained within multiple derailed train cars.

The Cobalt Gold Rush And The East Palestine Disaster

Holidays in my childhood were spent at my grandparents’ farm in Plain Grove, Pennsylvania, 35 miles from East Palestine, Ohio. My grandfather’s grandfather fought at Gettysburg and homesteaded the 160-acre farm after the Civil War. My grandmother sold it in the 1960s for $13,000, lacking a male heir to do the work; but my relatives still live in the area. I have therefore taken a keen interest in the toxic chemical disaster that resulted when a Norfolk Southern freight train derailed  in East Palestine on Feb. 3, although it is not my usual line of research. The official narrative doesn’t seem to add up. Something else must have been going on, but what?

Acrylate Water Safety Emergency Hits Philly

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - A warm and sunny Sunday afternoon was suddenly interrupted by an emergency phone alert: Philadelphia authorities warned the city water supply could be endangered and everyone should cease using drinking water after 2 p.m. Eastern time. Within minutes, people headed to grocery, corner and beer stores to grab water jugs and bottles. By 4 p.m. a couple stores Unicorn Riot checked were mostly picked over. City authorities warned at a Sunday morning news conference that ethyl acrylate, methyl methacrylate and butyl acrylate spilled into Otter Creek from a pipe rupture at the Trinseo PLC chemical plant near the Delaware River late Friday night.

The State Of East Palestine, Ohio From The Eyes Of A Local

Timothea is a long-time resident of East Palestine, Ohio and a victim of the Norfolk Southern train derailment. The train transporting toxic chemicals was 150 cars-long, 20-25% longer than the average length of trains in 2017, and it was operated by three conductors, with only 4 paid sick days each– just half of the national average. Of course, the release of 100,000 gallons of chemicals into a town only 3 square miles in size might have been avoided had our so-called “socialist” leaders fought for the rights of the railroad workers to secure a more favorable contract that was already years overdue. Now, Timothea and her community are stuck with the consequences.

Railroad Executives Got Cash, In Part For ‘Record’ Train Length

While concerns have been building across the railroad industry for years about the growing length of trains, our Scripps News investigation found that Norfolk Southern’s top executives personally pocketed millions of dollars in incentives and cash rewards after the company hit a controversial financial target and made its trains longer. Critics from within the industry say the specific financial metrics the executives were incentivized to hit can pressure them to cut costs — potentially at the expense of safety. The Norfolk Southern train that derailed just outside the small Ohio town of East Palestine stretched nearly two miles long. 

The Role Of Big Investors In East Palestine And Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Kiev Feb. 20 and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The trip was purposefully made to focus attention on the one-year anniversary of the U.S.- and NATO-led proxy war against Russia, and Biden promised large amounts of military aid to Zelensky’s regime in Kiev. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Norfolk Southern derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, had become the lead news story. Because the Biden administration had done little to focus on Ohio, the Ukraine trip caused unexpected political problems at home.
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