- Sputnik International, 1920
Sputnik brings you all the latest breaking stories, expert analysis and videos from North and South America.

Rail Firm Refuses to Answer Ohio Citizen's Questions Over Chemical Disaster

© AP Photo / Gene J. PuskarЧерный дым, поднимающийся с места схода в рельс 50 вагонов товарного поезда в американском штате Огайо
Черный дым, поднимающийся с места схода в рельс 50 вагонов товарного поезда в американском штате Огайо - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.02.2023
Worried residents of East Palestine expected officials from the railway responsible for the environmental disaster near the Ohio town to turn up for a local meeting — but the company claimed it feared for its employees safety.
An Ohio radio host has revealed that officials from the firm that ran the derailed train in last week's chemical spill had refused to meet residents.
A train hauling tanks of the flammable, cancer-causing chemical Vinyl Chloride derailed near the small town of East Palestine, on the Pennsylvania border, on Friday February 3, causing an explosion that left a huge black mushroom cloud hanging over the area.
Firefighters later conducted a controlled burn of the remaining chemicals, releasing tons of acidic hydrogen chloride and phosgene — the extremely toxic, heavier-than-air gas used as a chemical weapon in the First World War — into the environment.
Despite assurances from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), local people have complained of irritated eyes and headaches and have found hundreds of dead wild animals and fish.
Radio presenter Scott Sands told Sputnik that Norfolk Southern Railway, the operator of the train which is now facing multiple lawsuits over the environmental disaster, refused to turn up to a public meeting in the small town.
"The residents of that area from as far away as Youngstown, which is the largest major city [close] to East Palestine, are concerned about the fallout and the spread of chemicals in the air," Sands said in reference to the "mushroom cloud" left by the chemical fire. "Officials on the ground are saying, yeah, we essentially nuked this small town in Ohio."
The rail firm's excuse for not sending anyone to speak to the frightened residents was that they themselves feared they would be assualted.
"There were literally hundreds of residents there at East Palestine High School at the gym last night looking for answers", Sands said. "Norfolk Southern officials with the railroad said they were concerned about the safety of their employees and didn't send anybody to the gym. So you can understand that the residents are somewhat upset."
"There were public officials there, but Norfolk Southern was not there," he added. "And this is on the heels of six different class action lawsuits that have already been filed against Norfolk Southern because of all the vinyl chloride that was on that train."
Sands said it was "quite ironic" that the railway managers refused to show out of fears for their personal safety, because "that's exactly what the residents are afraid of."
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has insisted that tap water in the state is still safe to drink since the derailment.
But Ohio Senator J.D. Vance, a fellow Republican, graphically illustrated the extent of the contamination on Thursday, scraping the bottom of a stream bed — full of dead fish — to release rainbow-coloured chemicals leeched into the mud — while others found the same phenomenon.
Interview with Misty Winston - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.02.2023
Ohio Residents Bear Witness to Environmental Disaster Cover-Up
Another controversy is that Norfolk Southern claimed it had no duty to inform authorities that the train was carrying hazardous chemicals.
"I actually had Governor Mike DeWine on my radio show yesterday afternoon, and we talked about that very thing there," Sands said. "There are levels of reporting that are required for train contents and trains, payloads. And apparently this was just under whatever that threshold of reporting is."
The radio host said reporters were emerging that there were also issues with the train itself before the accident.
"Two days before the same train that broke down at least once," Sands said. "And they were also officials were concerned about the size of the train, saying its weight and length were excessive and may have contributed to the derailment."
Media reports said the train broke down on the evening of February 1 on its way from Madison, Illinois. It was made up of 151 cars and was 9,300 feet (2.8km) long and weighed 18,000 tons before it reached East Palestine.
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала