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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
The U.S. is an oligarchy. Stating this fact explains events that may seem mysterious if this simple truth is not spelled out. The ruling class are fully in control and ensure that their needs are met. They disregard the public good and any claims of democracy are easily exposed as a cruel hoax. Americans have no representation in congress or the white house and the corporate media are also part of the oligarchic class. They expose nothing that their partners in crime want to hide. Governmental action and inaction if the wake of a freight train derailment exemplify all of these dynamics.
President Joe Biden’s trip to Kiev, Ukraine, Feb. 20 shocked people living near East Palestine, Ohio, who have been devastated by a Feb. 3 toxic train derailment. The accident involved a 150-car train owned by Norfolk Southern, carrying dangerous and hazardous chemicals, which jackknifed due to a broken axle. On Feb. 6, state authorities slowly released and burned dangerous chemicals, such as the cancer-causing vinyl chloride and others, into the air. Since then, people in the area have faced various health problems ranging from slight headaches and sore throats to coughing up and vomiting blood.
On Feb. 3, a Norfolk Southern train carrying vinyl chloride and other hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. To prevent a potential deadly explosion, officials conducted a “slow burn” of the vinyl chloride, which produced a cloud of thick black smoke lingering over the town for days. The fallout from this spill and the chemicals released has resulted in thousands of dead aquatic life, contamination of residential water wells, a noxious chemical smell in the air, and mysterious symptoms afflicting residents such as rashes, headaches, sore throat, and nausea. What happened in East Palestine is just the latest in an upsurge in train derailments in recent years.
While the abused residents of East Palestine, Ohio packed their local high school gym on Wednesday night to sort through the contradictory messaging from officials, freight trains with vast quantities of toxic chemicals rumbled through equally vulnerable and unprepared corridor communities across America. Invariably, these are communities that have some history of betrayal and abandonment by predatory capitalism and rely on selfless community volunteers to staff their fire apparatus and ambulances. They were the frontline infantry for COVID. They are the arms and legs of mutual aid 24-7 responding to any and all natural and man-made disasters in America’s heartland.
Complex, tightly networked systems run very efficiently and can work with precision for long periods, until they don’t. Money saved on the front end can be lost in one catastrophic accident. There is no better recent example than the derailment of a Norfolk Southern train carrying copious amounts of toxic vinyl chloride and other toxic chemicals. By now nearly everyone knows the tale of toxic fires and fears of explosion which led officials to drain undamaged tank cars carrying the same toxic chemicals which escaped the initial fires and then burn those chemicals as a precaution.
East Palestine, Ohio - The testing that Ohio authorities relied on to declare the municipal water in East Palestine safe to drink after a disastrous train derailment was funded by the railroad operator itself and did not initially comply with federal standards, HuffPost has learned. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) on Wednesday afternoon announced that new testing from five wells that supply the town’s municipal drinking water “showed no evidence of contamination” after a Norfolk Southern freight train loaded with tons of hazardous materials derailed in the area on Feb. 3. “With these tests results, Ohio EPA is confident that the municipal water is safe to drink,” DeWine’s office wrote in a news release.