It has been nearly two weeks since the Norfolk Southern freight train derailed and set off a series of events that may plague this small town in northwest Ohio for generations. I am amazed how few people I speak with have even heard of this tragedy, but when you see how little attention the mainstream media is giving, it becomes clear why that is. The unfortunate thing is how little attention the government is offering. This lack of action is becoming the trademark of this Administration. Just as they do with the Border Crisis, Fentanyl poisonings, infant formula shortages, or skyrocketing crime on our streets, they ignore the problem hoping it will fade away. For the poor souls of E. Palestine, the crash and subsequent plume of smoke from the chemical burn will haunt them forever.
We have so many agencies in this country. They all soak up our tax dollars, and usually, FEMA does an excellent job of lending a helping hand when a tragedy hits America. FEMA, like the EPA, CDC, DOT, and you can probably add some more acronyms, are AWOL in Ohio. Ignore them, and the problem will go away. The people of East Palestine, and the surrounding region, deserve better. A town hall meeting was held last night in E. Palestine to give the residents an opportunity to get their questions and concerns addressed. These people were snubbed, as nobody from the train company, DOT Secretary Buttigieg, or anyone of significance who could lend answers and comfort.
As if the accident and spill were not bad enough, in its haste to get the rail line back open, Norfolk Southern chose to consolidate all of the spilled toxic waste, place it in a pit, set it on fire, and then cover it with sand. This decision was made solely to get the trains moving with no consideration for the health of the people and region. A class suit has been filed against Norfolk Southern.
The complaint alleges that, rather than engaging in safer, more prudent and more costly efforts to properly contain and clean up the spill, Norfolk Southern chose a cheaper, less safe containment method — setting the spilled chemicals on fire, creating a 1-million-pound-plus chemical burn pit, and releasing Phosgene Gas into the atmosphere. Phosgene gas is a deadly chemical warfare agent banned under the Geneva Protocol.
“From chemicals that cause nausea and vomiting to a substance responsible for the majority of chemical warfare deaths during World War I, the people of East Palestine and the surrounding communities are facing an unprecedented array of threats to their health,” said Morgan & Morgan attorneys Frank Petosa and Rene Rocha.
People’s homes and property have no value as they sit on a toxic waste site. Animals and fish are dying. People are showing signs of respiratory distress. The air is toxic. The land is damaged, and people are scared. In their time of need, when their lives have been turned upside down, and the lives of every resident are in jeopardy, the government, Joe Biden and Company, has turned its back.
The Governors of Ohio and neighboring Pennsylvania have told the residents that they can safely return to their homes. They have no basis for giving that direction. They cannot assure the quality of the air, water, or land, nor how large an area is impacted. They are sending people home to a future of unknown health risks. It is a reckless and foolhardy act on the part of people that should be trusted. The government’s fundamental responsibility is the safety of its people. In this case, the people of East Palestine are being sacrificed in the name of expediency. The lawsuit should be expanded to include the government and every agency that failed to answer the call for help.