Ohio Train Derailment: Rail Company Skips Community Meeting- Hundreds of protesters pounded officials with repeated inquiries about the air and water quality under the banners and murals of a nearby high school gym.
“I feel the same frustration. I’m a resident of the neighborhood like you, “Trent Conaway, the mayor of East Palestine, said while exhausted. I’m looking for responses.
Norfolk Southern declared that the company would not attend the meeting hours before it began.
The business issued a statement claiming that due to the probability of “other parties” taking part, it had grown “increasingly concerned about the mounting physical threat” to its staff.
Chris Wallace, an East Palestine native who has lived there all of his life but is still unable to return to his home beside a creek, told the BBC that many residents had long been worried about the speed at which trains traversed the region and the possible hazards of the overworked crew.
They ought to be here responding to inquiries, he said. “They have a lot to cover up. They want us to remain in the dark. We were bombed.”
The BBC has contacted Norfolk Southern for comment. Officials at the gathering had to repeatedly ask locals to maintain civility, with Mayor Conaway reminding those present that “we’re all adults here.”
Mr. Wallace and Ms. Cozza claimed that they are working with other locals to form a coalition to hire outside experts to evaluate the soil and water and an attorney to address any legal concerns.
Officials in the full gymnasium were repeatedly questioned about what many people claimed they saw as conflicting and confusing health advice, including US Congressman Bill Johnson.
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Scott McLear remarked, “They kept stressing it’s fine to drink the water, but also bottled water.” “That is not a response. There is a paradox there for all to perceive.”
Some locals claimed to have experienced nausea and headaches following the incident.
The Environmental Protection Agency reported earlier this week that it had not found any dangerous amounts of toxins after testing the air quality. Additionally, it has examined the air in hundreds of residences and reported finding no contaminants.
The head of Ohio’s Health Department, Bruce Vanderhoff, told the crowd that the levels of toxins in the air and water supplies were much lower than those that could harm humans, even though officials at the event acknowledged that the toxins from the derailment had been fatal to wildlife, mainly fish.
A woman in the bleachers asked, “Why are people getting sick if there’s nothing in the air or the water?” to loud cheers from the audience.
For his part, Congressman Johnson offered what he described as a “common sense” viewpoint.
He declared, “I’m not a doctor, and I’m not a chemist.” “Visit your doctor if you experience symptoms or illnesses that you did not have before February 3. Ensure that it is recorded.”
Michael Regan, the director of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is scheduled to visit East Palestine on Thursday to meet with regional leaders and evaluate the reaction to the disaster.
He would talk about the EPA’s “air monitoring and work to ensure the health and safety of the community,” according to an EPA statement.
However, Mr. Regan’s visit may come as too little, too late for some locals.
A young man who only wanted to be known as Owen declared, “I have no faith whatsoever.” “The responses they are giving might be accurate. However, they are not being delivered in a way that will improve anyone’s mood.”
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