Catastrophic Train Derailment Causes One of The Worst Environmental Disasters in US History

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Business Manager: Julian Cassady


On February 3rd, 2023, a train carrying hazardous chemical materials derailed and exploded in East Palestine, Ohio, creating what could be one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in United States history

East Palestine lies on the Northeast corner of the state, right on the border with Pennsylvania. 

The town’s 4,500 residents and surrounding communities have raised concerns over the long-term health issues relating to the event.

The train derailed due to the lack of electronically controlled pneumatic emergency brakes. 

In the past, trains carrying hazardous materials were required to have the specialized pneumatic brakes. However, after a successful lobbying process by the train company Norfolk Southern Freight, regulations were repealed for emergency brakes on trains with hazardous cargo. 

The train that derailed in East Palestine was one of Norfolk Southern Freight’s. 

The hazardous cargo on the Norfolk Southern train included vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, and ethylene glycol.

All of which are carcinogenic and very toxic when inhaled.

On February 5th, Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio ordered a mandatory evacuation for everyone within a 1-mile radius of the train.

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This was due to a controlled burn of the chemicals to prevent a sudden explosion. The burn sent plumes of toxic gas into the air and created a mushroom cloud of airborne chemicals.

Citizens within a 50-mile radius have reported eye and lung irritation.

In the days following the controlled burn in East Palestine, locals noticed fish and other animals dead in bodies of water.

Environment agencies are reporting that more than 3,500 fish have died as a result.

Additionally, one local had all of their chickens die within a few days of the burn, causing her to be rightfully fearful about the long-term effects of breathing the air in.

The mile radius evacuation was lifted on February 9th after the EPA tested the air and found that it had returned to normal levels.

East Palestine residents think otherwise.

Social media is buzzing about the initial levels of underreporting of the incident, thought mainly to be due to how rural the area is.

On February 8th, bodycam footage began to surface of news reporter Evan Lambert of NewsNation, getting arrested at a press conference where Gov. DeWine discussed details of the accident.

Lambert fully submitted to police and proclaimed repeatedly that he had a right to report on the conference and was not interfering with anything.

This fanned the flames of people believing that the catastrophic event was trying to be quietly covered up.

A town hall meeting open to the public was held in East Palestine on Wednesday, February 15th, where the town mayor and representatives from Norfolk Southern would answer questions. 

To the surprise of the residents and mayor, Norfolk retracted their offer to attend the forum over fears for the safety of their staff.

It’s unclear whether the statement was made over the air quality concerns or if the company was fearful that East Palestine residents would become physically aggressive towards the representatives.

Residents want answers, and the mayor is caught in the middle of the crossfire.

Unfortunately, the mayor is just as information starved as everyone else, and Norfolk Southern is not satisfactorily answering questions and meeting the demands of the worried citizens.


Ohio residents demand answers at a town hall as the list of toxic chemicals grows following the train derailment and fire in East Palestine. #Fire #Train #Ohio #Community #TownHall #News

♬ original sound – Good Morning America

As days turn into weeks since the derailment, citizens are still left in the dark about the details.

People affected by the derailment are prisoners of their own community. 

Many of them don’t have enough money to move elsewhere and are caught in a situation with no easy way out.

Ways to Help:

Relief for East Palestine After Train Derailment Go Fund Me

Hold Norfolk Southern Accountable for East Palestine Train Derailment Petition


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