“You get the impression they’re just looking at this as a cost of doing business,” said Phil Mattera, research director of Good Jobs First Age And The Sydney Morning Herald. “They just keep paying the fines and it seems they are not taking enough remedial action to address the issues.”
Chris Wallace and his partner Jamie were among those who left their home, which is about two meters from a stream that runs through central eastern Palestine and is now contaminated.
The couple and their three-year-old daughter first sought shelter with a relative nearby before moving to a hotel in neighboring West Virginia. They have refused to go home even though the evacuation order has been lifted.
“That first night, our noses felt burned, our throats, our lungs — it was awful,” Wallace said.
“And I’ve never had foot odor in my life — my old lady can vouch for that — but I’ve worn through two pairs of shoes because my feet feel like they’re constantly being detoxified from the chemicals. It’s madness.”
East Palestine has since become a hotbed for politicians, lawyers and prominent activists. Trump, who is up for re-election next year and still has many staunch supporters in rural Ohio, will visit on Wednesday (US time), followed by environmental activist Erin Brockovich on Friday, who will hold a town hall meeting with a group of citizens lawyers.
President Joe Biden has sent out a series of tweets telling residents “we’ve got your back” after being criticized for visiting Ukraine before Ohio, while Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has urged Congress to increase the cap on Increase fines for railroad safety violations. Under federal regulations, the current maximum fine is $225,455. Norfolk Southern sales were $12.7 billion last year.
On Wednesday, Environmental Protection Agency chief Michael Regan volunteered to drink tap water during a visit to a woman’s home to demonstrate it’s safe. He also announced that the EPA had taken control of the cleanup and ordered Norfolk Southern to foot the bill.
“It cannot undo the nightmare that families are living with in this city, but it will begin to bring much-needed justice for the pain caused,” he said.
So far, about 6.8 tons of contaminated soil and 4 million liters of contaminated water have been removed from the site. Norfolk Southern chief executive Alan Shaw visited the city on Sunday after refusing to show up for an earlier community meeting and vowed to “do the right things to help eastern Palestine recover and prosper again.” .
When asked about the company’s violations, a spokesman said reportable violations fell by more than 20 percent between 2020 and 2021, and by another 20 percent over the past year.
“We carefully monitor our trains and infrastructure to identify potential hazards, and we invest approximately $1 billion annually in maintaining our infrastructure,” the spokesman said. “Our industry-leading engineering and mechanical teams undertake projects that improve our inspection quality and infrastructure to deliver safer results.”
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https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/we-didn-t-ask-for-this-residents-report-ill-health-after-ohio-toxic-disaster-20230222-p5cmic.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world A chemical disaster causes the residents’ health to deteriorate