The Fed’s Train Wreck of a Response to a Deadly Ecological Disaster

If you are at all concerned about our environment…

If you think for yourself, rather than be told what to think…

Then please divert your attention away from the traditional sources of news and delve into the facts regarding the train derailment and subsequent atmospheric/ecological disaster that occurred at 8:54PM on February 3 in East Palestine, Ohio. Some fifty rail cars on a very long Norfolk Southern train derailed, eleven of them tankers carrying extremely toxic chemicals.

Within an hour, the Village of East Palestine issued  an evacuation within one mile of the train crash, with the rest of the city sheltered in place.  Okay, this was a decent first move.  Fire fighters were called to the scene as there were flames.  Overnight, information was brought forth regarding the train’s chemical cargo.

That information should have changed everything.

The next morning, February 4,  East Palestine created an emergency declaration and held a press conference that afternoon. The National Transportation Safety Board held a press event shortly thereafter, seemingly downplaying the potential danger.

The next day, February 5, the fires had not diminished, but instead grew. Chemical runoff was detected in nearby streams.

POISON GAS RELEASE

A regional EPA representative spoke to the press with a tepid update on the situation. AFTER the press event it was revealed to Cleveland’s Channel Five, that vinyl chloride was in a derailed tanker car.

Stop the press.

Vinyl chloride, when burning, creates phosgene gas, a chemical warfare agent used in World War One that has been banned by the Geneva Convention. It can kill upon inhalation. It is a known carcinogen. On hundred years later, there are still broad swaths of the French countryside that remain stunted by the deplorable use of phosgene during the war.

Prior to this, apparently, firefighters had not been told they were dealing with vinyl chloride; now they were told to step away from fighting the fires. That evening, Ohio Governor DeWine a ordered a mandatory evacuation of the area. Residents reported noxious fumes some two miles from the derailment.

The next afternoon (Monday, February 6), the Governor’s offices of Ohio and Pennsylvania decided for a controlled release and burn of toxic chemicals from the train cars. By all accounts, vinyl chloride was the chemical burned. A massive fireball followed by a thick mushroom cloud of black smoke could be seen from the wreckage.  The cloud of deadly gas showed up on weather radar screens appearing just like an intense thunderstorm.

The EPA was said to be “monitoring” the air quality–like that would make any difference.

THE WORST ECOLOGICAL DISASTER, EVER?

Please, consider what I am about to say. This atmospheric release of toxicity might well be the worst anthropogenic (human caused) environmental disaster in American history.

The Environmental Protection Agency was created for moments just like this: to protect the environment and therefore protect human life. A major facet of the National Transportation Safety Board was also fashioned for situations like this: to quickly get to the bottom of what went wrong so that further lives can be spared.

President Biden’s administration failed this test miserably. Did the NTSB not have access to immediately determine what chemicals were on board the derailed cars?  Did not the EPA know the potential dangers of such lethal chemicals?

Of course they did.

And why was the first statement from NTSB director Buttigieg made on February 13, ten days after the crash?  He finally showed up in East Palestine on February 22, telling reporters he was trying to strike a “balance” by not showing up sooner.

What kind of deceptive rhetoric is that?

As for the EPA’s Michael Regan, he also visited on February 22, telling reporters, “We’ve mobilized a very high tech airplane, we’ve mobilized mobile vans, we have stationary air monitoring and we’ve been in over 460 homes testing the air quality.”

A high tech airplane and “mobilized mobile vans?”  That is embarrassing.

A lawsuit filed on Wednesday, February 22, in U.S. District court by Morgan & Morgan alleges that the railroad dumped more than 1.1 million pounds of vinyl chloride into the environment during the incident.

According to the attorney who filed the lawsuit, “I’m not sure Norfolk Southern could have come up with a worse plan to address this disaster,” said attorney John Morgan. “Residents exposed to vinyl chloride may already be undergoing DNA mutations that could linger for years or even decades before manifesting as terrible and deadly cancers. The lawsuit alleges that Norfolk Southern made it worse by essentially blasting the town with chemicals as they focused on restoring train service and protecting their shareholders.”

Questions loom, yet Big Media refuses to ask them.  One can only imagine how differently they would have responded if Donald Trump’s administration would have handled the derailment exactly as Biden’s did.

 

 

Brian Sussman

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