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 phosphine — 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 rail firm’s excuse for not sending anyone to speak to the frightened residents was that they themselves feared they would be assaulted.
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.
Investigators that were scraping the bottom of a stream bed, and found it full of dead fish declared the toxic release of rainbow-colored chemicals leeched into the mud, while others found the same phenomenon.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2023.