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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.

Former Dumping Ground Became A Flourishing Food Ecosystem

Cleveland, Ohio - On a dead-end street in Cleveland’s Kinsman neighborhood, on 18 acres of land that previously served as an illegal dumping ground, an entire food ecosystem has emerged and thrived under the leadership of local residents. Rid-All Green Partnership started with a single hoop house erected in February of 2011; now acres of farmland support a community kitchen and farmer’s market. All food waste is turned into compost, which supports the farm and is sold across Cleveland. A training program and paid apprenticeships bring community members in, while an aquaponics and hydroponics system generates local jobs. Specialized programs emerged to serve veterans and youth.

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?

Ohio: Groups Sue To Block New Law Allowing Fracking In State Parks

Environmental and community groups in Ohio have filed a preliminary injunction to stop the leasing of public lands — including state parks — to the oil and gas industry. Ohio HB 507, which redefines methane gas as “green energy” and requires state parks to lease their lands for fracking, went into effect on April 7. Originally an agricultural bill with its focus on poultry, the law was quickly expanded to include granting petrochemical, agricultural and fracking rights to industry. The groups oppose the law on a constitutional basis, in addition to their objection to the obligatory leasing of public lands for fracking, a press release from Earthjustice and the Sierra Club said.

Attacks On Child Labor Laws Aren’t Going Away

While we Americans like to believe that child labor is a thing of the past, an antiquated detail of a dark history that is safely in our rearview mirror, the sad reality is that, even today, in the year of our Lord 2023, the exploitation of children and their labor continues to be a dismal feature throughout the production and supply chains behind many of our favorite brands and companies, including Lucky Charms, Cheetos, Walmart, Target, Whole Foods, Fruit of the Loom, Ben and Jerry’s, etc. There are kids farming the produce that we buy in the supermarket, kids making the parts that end up in our cars, kids cleaning industrial bone saws, office buildings, and houses, kids on construction sites and in the backs of restaurants.

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.

Phone Zap For Ohio State Penitentiary Hunger Strikers

Ohio - People incarcerated at the Ohio State Penitentiary began a protest in mid-March and need our support to be successful in getting their demands met. Recently, guards at OSP have been forcing prisoners to stand in the showers for hours on end as a form of retaliation for speaking out. The protest seeks to end this form of punishment, as well as several other injustices inside the prison. Without outside support and attention, protests like this one are much easier for the prison administration to sweep under the rug. It’s imperative that the administration hear from as many people as possible, so that they know we are paying attention to how they respond to this action.

Can You Tell If A ‘Bomb Train’ Is Coming To Your Town?

In the wake of the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment, Governor Mike DeWine called on Congress to look into why the rural village didn’t know ahead of time they had volatile chemicals coming through town. “We should know when we have trains carrying hazardous materials through the state of Ohio,” DeWine said at a press conference. This information is out there, but it’s probably not what the governor had in mind. With the derailment of the Norfolk Southern train receiving international attention, more railroad communities are now asking what is traveling through their backyard.

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

East Palestine, Ohio - 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.

REI Workers Form Union At Ohio Store

Workers at an REI store near Cleveland voted 27-12 in favor of unionizing on Friday, adding more fuel to a labor organizing campaign at the national outdoor retailer. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union said it prevailed in the vote following a tally by the National Labor Relations Board. The company has a week to file any objections to the results. The Ohio election marks the third union victory at an REI outpost over the past year, following other votes in New York City and Berkeley, California. The Cleveland store, which is in the suburb of Orange, employs around 55 workers who would be part of the union.

‘There Should Have Been A Playbook On This’: Expert On Ohio Train Disaster

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.

Low Prices, Modern Railroading And The Toxic Ohio Derailment

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.

Organizations Provide Mutual Aid To Residents Of East Palestine, Ohio

Organizations and affinity groups across Ohio are uniting to offer support and mutual aid to those most affected by last week’s train derailment and subsequent release of toxic chemicals. We are accepting donations of both funds and supplies for communities in and around East Palestine, Ohio. This disaster is a policy decision. The Biden administration and Congress refused to support rail workers in their demands to improve safety in December 2022 and January 2023. Ohio Governor DeWine mandated the conditions to allow the toxic burn off in lieu of alternative remediations. The purpose for escalating the release of volatile chemicals was to speed up the process for trains to resume to generate profit for the companies who perpetuated this catastrophe.

Chemical Desolation In Appalachia

East Palestine, Ohio - In the village of East Palestine, on a late Friday evening, a Norfolk Southern freight train derailed on the Ohio side of the Pennsylvania border, causing tanker cars to rupture and catch fire, releasing thousands of tons of hazardous chemical compounds into the surrounding land and atmosphere. At the time of the crash, the known chemicals aboard included the highly toxic vinyl chloride and hydrogen chloride. An EPA document dump on February 12 revealed additional carcinogenic chemicals were aboard too, as well as some highly flammable solvents and gases.
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