‘We’ll Just Stay Here and Die?’ – East Palestine Residents Grill Railroad Execs, Biden Admin
Public outrage boils over at community meeting
Public outrage boiled over Thursday night in the Ohio village where authorities caused a major public health crisis by torching massive quantities of vinyl chloride and other toxic chemicals following a train derailment last month.
Norfolk Southern executives and Environmental Protection Agency officials were repeatedly berated by outraged residents of East Palestine during a community meeting regarding their continuing failure to address the public health crisis still affecting the small Ohio village.
After the meeting at the East Palestine High School kicked off Thursday evening, EPA functionaries quickly attempted to placate locals by agreeing to a long-standing demand to instruct the railroad company to test for cancerous compounds known as dioxins.
But the anger in the room boiled over within ‘minutes,’ according to media reports which described a tumultuous scene.
“Why did you wait so long?” one resident reportedly yelled at the EPA’s regional administrator, Debra Shore.
Per one major US newspaper, EPA officials’ claims that testing had already begun were met with replies including “Start now!” and “It’s too late!”
After Ohio EPA Director Anne Vogel insisted that tests on the water supply hadn’t demonstrated unsafe contaminant levels, another woman reportedly responded: “What about private wells? We’ll just stay here and die?”
Others took the authorities to task for burning the noxious chemicals in order to get the trains running and restore profitability.
“Every time I hear a train, it makes me sick now,” one resident reportedly said, adding “it’s just mind-blowing to me how really ignorant they’ve been to us in every possible way that they could when they should be doing everything that they possibly can to help us.”
They’re far from the only ones with serious criticisms of how the situation’s been handled by Norfolk Southern and the Biden administration.
On Wednesday, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees chairman Jonathan Long wrote a letter to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine denouncing major OSHA violations by the railroad company during the cleanup.
“I received reports that [Norfolk Southern] neither offered nor provided these workers with appropriate personal protective equipment, such as respirators that are designed to permit safely working around vinyl chloride, eye protection and protective clothing such as chemical restraint suits, rubber overboots and rubber gloves rated for safely working around the spilled chemicals that prevent direct contact with such substances,” Long wrote.
“Many other employees reported that they continue to experience migraines and nausea, days after the derailment, and they all suspect that they were willingly exposed to these chemicals at the direction of [Norfolk Southern],” he added.
But the company has continued to deny any wrongdoing.
“In East Palestine, Norfolk Southern was on-scene immediately after the derailment and coordinated our response with hazardous material professionals who were on site continuously to ensure the work area was safe to enter and the required PPE utilized,” they reportedly told one US-based outlet.
Despite widespread criticism over their apparent unwillingness to take action, the Biden administration has taken a similar stance.
“We owe it to everyone, to everyone affected by the Norfolk Southern train derailment, to ensure that you continue to build those roots, that future generations can continue to proudly call this area home,” Shore insisted to East Palestine residents.
“That is what E.P.A. is working toward,” she claimed, adding “we will not be leaving until you are satisfied.”
The United Nations warned us they would seize control of flyover country via Agenda 21