Environmental Protection after a Chemical Train Delay in East Palestine, Ohio, When the Environment and Conservation Laws Developed Closer to the State Capitol
The interview comes nearly two weeks after a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in East Palestine, a town of under 5,000 people along the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. The air and water were declared safe by officials five days after the wreck and the residents were ordered to leave.
Those just outside the evacuation zone in East Palestine and in neighboring Beaver County, Pennsylvania, had been urged to stay indoors as a precaution. Air samples from neighboring counties didn’t show any worrisome levels of contaminates.
James Justice was the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Hundreds of data points from that “show that the air quality in the town is safe,” he said.
Regan said that he wanted the community to know that they will get to the bottom of the matter. “We are testing for all volatile organic chemicals, we’re testing for everything. We’re testing for everything that was on that train. So we feel comfortable that we are casting a net wide enough to present a picture that will protect the community.”
Many nearby residents were ordered to leave shortly after the accident because of health concerns, and others were told to leave before the chemicals were released.
The commander of the Ohio National Guard had said that members wearing protective gear would take readings in homes, basements and businesses to make sure the air was safe before allowing people to return to their homes.
Collision investigation of a fireball that burned vinyl chloride from a train accident in East Palestine on Feb. 3. The railroad operator and community demands more transparency
No one was injured when about 50 cars derailed in a fiery, mangled mess on the outskirts of East Palestine on Feb. 3. The area had to be evacuated because of fears of an explosion and they decided to burn the toxic vinyl chloride from the five rail cars.
At least one lawsuit has been filed over the derailment. A business owner from East Palestine is among two other people who are suing the rail operator in federal court on Tuesday. People who were hurt by spilled chemicals at the site are being sought for a class-action case.
The state told hundreds of worried people that the local air and water were safe to breathe in, and that they would continue their safety testing.
Norfolk Southern didn’t attend the meeting due to safety concerns, and residents demanded more transparency from the railroad operator.
Norfolk Southern said in a statement that it was not going to attend the open house because of a growing physical threat to its employees and members of the community.
The meeting came amid questions over potential threats to animals and the impact of the smoke on drinking water as well as concerns over what was happening with the clean up.
Why are the folks at the East Palestine Railroad “hush-hush”? The state’s EPA and Norfolk Southern are working together to protect the public from a spill
“Why are they being hush-hush?” Kathy Dyke said of the railroad. “They’re not out here supporting, they’re not out here answering questions. For three days we didn’t even know what was on the train.”
Many people in East Palestine near the Pennsylvania state line want to know if the railroad will be held responsible for the families who were evacuated from their homes.
“The pollution, which continues to contaminate the area around East Palestine, created a nuisance, damage to natural resources and caused environmental harm,” Yost said in a letter to the company.
State officials have repeatedly said water from the municipal system – which is pulled from five deep wells covered by solid steel casing – is safe to drink. However, the state’s EPA encouraged residents who get water from private wells to get that water tested, the governor’s office said.
The spill killed an estimated 3,500 small fish and affected more than seven miles of streams, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
A $1 million fund is being created by Norfolk Southern to help the community of some 4,700 people while it continues work to clean up pollutants from the ground and streams.
“We will be judged by our actions,” Norfolk Southern President and CEO Alan Shaw said in a statement. We’re cleaning up the site in a sustainable way, we’re reimbursing people who were affected by the crash, and we’re working with the community to figure out what’s needed to help East Palestine recover and thrive.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it had video showing a wheel bearing overheating just before the accident, which is thought to be the cause. The report from the preliminary probe is expected to be about two weeks.
Investigating the Environmental Protection Agency’s responsibilities to the East Palestine train operator of a hazardous chemical train derailed on May 3, 2015, after the Derailment
Misinformation and exaggerations spread online, and state and federal officials have repeatedly offered assurances that air monitoring hasn’t detected any remaining concerns. Ohio’s health director told reporters Tuesday that even low levels of contaminants can create odors and symptoms if not taken care of.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s head traveled to East Palestine, Ohio, to announce that they will be holding Norfolk Southern accountable for its role in a train carrying hazardous chemicals that derailed earlier this month.
The EPA has the authority to use its enforcement capabilities to respond to the crisis, Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a CNN interview.
Regan told CNN that they had given the company a notice of accountability, indicating that they would be responsible for cleaning up the mess. “But as this investigation continues, and as new facts arise, let me just say, and be very clear, I will use the full enforcement authority of this agency, and so will the federal government, to be sure that this company is held accountable.”
Hundreds of East Palestine residents attended a town hall Wednesday night to express their frustrations and mounting distrust. The train operator pulled out due to safety concerns, even though they had agreed to attend.
Regan visited the town Thursday and observed some of the remediation efforts following the hazardous train derailment. The state has primary responsibility over the scene, but the EPA was prepared to provide necessary resources.
“We are testing for the full breadth of toxic chemicals that were on that train that was spilled. We have the capabilities to detect every single adverse impact that would result from that spill, and that’s what we’re doing,” he said.
Ohio State Senator Mike DeWine: “On the status of the Ohio River area” and a request to the Ohio Department of Agriculture to send experts to East Palestine
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been requested by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to immediately send experts to East Palestine to assess and help members of the community with questions or health symptoms.
In the event of rain, the emergency response teams have plans in place to prevent water from being polluted by residual pollutants from the site, DeWine said in a statement.
The governor said that the butyl acrylate was located near the Ohio River in Ohio and would be near Huntington, West Virginia, sometime tomorrow. Testing results indicate that the chemical is currently well below a level the CDC considers hazardous, he said. No vinyl chloride has been detected in the Ohio River, he added, though agencies will continue sampling river water out of an abundance of caution.
DeWine said the Ohio Department of Agriculture continues to assure Ohioans that its food supply is safe and the risk to livestock remains low following the train derailment.
Exposure of the City to a Chemical Threat and Its Implications for the Security of the Local Area at the Jerusalem Metro Station, ohio
“Is it OK to still be here? Are my kids safe? Are the people safe? Is the future of this community safe?” The resident of East Palestine told reporters what they had heard at the meeting. “We all know the severity of that question, and what’s at stake. Some people think they are downplaying; some people don’t think so – let’s find out.”
“There (were) two options: We either detonate those tanks, or they detonate themselves,” Mayor Trent Conaway told a group of reporters at Wednesday’s meeting. Chemicals went into the air. I am sorry, but that was the only viable option we had. If we didn’t do that, they were going to blow up, and we were going to have all sorts of things go down.
Conaway told reporters that he needed help. I have the village on my back and I will do everything in my power to make this right. I am not leaving and I am not going anywhere.
“We have become increasingly concerned about the growing physical threat to our employees and members of the community around this event stemming from the increasing likelihood of the participation of outside parties,” the company said in a release.
Nate Velez, who said he lives less than half a mile from where the train derailed, told CNN on Wednesday night that the company’s absence from the meeting was “a slap in the face.”
The Velez family are spending some time in rentals away from town. He told CNN that when he was in the town, a chemical smell left his eyes and throat burning, and made him have a headaches.
Most people didn’t want to go home, but they had to. So, all the people who had to go home were complaining of smells, pains in their throat, headaches, sickness,” he said. “I have gone back a few times, and the smell does make you sick. It hurts the head.
The East Palestine stench of chemical mixtures: Sensitivities to the safety of her husband and children, and the fate of the East Palestinian train wreckage
They did not show up for the town hall meeting. The public deserves to know what is going on. The public needs to have the latest information. And so it’s our job, as the federal government, to hold this company accountable, and I promise you we will.”
Due to the toxicity of the train derailing, Jami Cozza is staying at a hotel paid for by the railroad.
Speaking to CNN’s Don Lemon, Cozza said the railroad company told her it was safe to return home after conducting air testing. However, she insisted the railroad company run soil and water tests, and only then did a toxicologist deem her house unsafe.
“Had I not used my voice, had I not thrown a fit, I would be sitting in that house right now, when they told me that it was safe,” Cozza said Thursday.
Some residents in the region want to do their own tests, while others like to work with the railroad company Norfolk Southern or look for ways to conduct their own.
But Ms. Guglielmo and others, particularly on the outskirts of East Palestine near where the train collided, continue to report a lingering stench of chemicals in some parts of town and have found little comfort in the assurances in light of the rashes and headaches they have experienced.
The threat of possible long-term exposure to the chemical cocktail released into the air and water, coupled with a deep fear that the town and its neighboring villages will be forgotten in the coming months, has also left many residents feeling as if they are on their own to prove that it is safe to remain or return through means that include paying out of pocket for their own tests. Some have become novice chemists, rattling off the names and effects of chemical compounds that had no meaning to them two weeks ago.
“I don’t want to give up — I don’t want to walk away,” she said recently, keeping an eye on a nearby bubbling vat of maple sap in her yard. Ms. Mibuck conceded that she did not feel safe doing things like planting a garden or allowing her horses to drink from the nearby creek after the chemical burn. I hate that.”
When the Norfolk Southern freight train careened off the tracks this month and left a fiery heap of wreckage on the outskirts of East Palestine, Ohio, a town of roughly 4,700 people, it upended an area where generations of families could afford to buy acres of land, raise horses and plant gardens, hunt deer and birds and build lives undisturbed by the chaos of bigger cities nearby. Although farming provides only a small number of jobs in the immediate area, many residents say that raising livestock and working the land are profoundly important to their way of life.
Through a long global pandemic, national political tensions and the stress of inflation, the land, the water and the fresh air had been a source of comfort and safety. But the chemical threat spreading through the region has shattered many landowners’ confidence. The EPA said vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate and ethylhexyl acrylate were some of the substances that were released into the air, surface water and surface soil.