The Ohio Spill

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Samuel Rowles, OwlFeed News Reporter

Some people are calling this “Chernobyl 2” after residents of East Palestine, Ohio, were rudely awoken after a train carrying dangerous chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, at around 8:55 pm. The deadly chemicals have been identified as Vinyl Chloride, which, if exposed, can cause irritation in the eyes, mucous membranes and cause respiratory problems—also, cancer and permanent effects on the skin and bones of the hand.  

Scott Dance from The Washington Post found a study by Students at A&M University in Texas that stated,  “Examining EPA data, the researchers found elevated levels of chemicals known to trigger eye and lung irritation, headaches and other symptoms, as well as some known or suspected to cause cancer.”To go into more detail on the situation,  Simon Ducroquet, Niko Kommenda and John Muyskens from The Washington post write, “Around 9 p.m. on Feb. 3, approximately 50 cars derailed near the village of East Palestine, Ohio, a town of 4,700 residents just half-a-mile from the state border with Pennsylvania. The crash caused a fire spanning the length of the derailed cars. Eleven of the derailed cars contained hazardous materials, some of which are used to make plastics.”  

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All of these materials had some detrimental effects on the land, including high amounts of pollution being emitted into the air in East Palestine, which presidents are scared may cause health risks. Due to these health risks, the East Palestine community has sent out 5 of their main demands following the train crash. The first of these demands is Relocation for anybody in the area. Jennifer Rodriguez, from states, “Folks don’t feel safe and aren’t getting their questions answered. Anyone who wants to be relocated to hotels or safe housing should have the opportunity to do so, paid for by Norfolk Southern.” They also demand that tests continue to take place in the area until it is 100% safe to return.

Nothing can be determined about the effects of this event. They request they test the soil, air quality, and water. They blame Norfolk Southern, they demand that they pay in full for all the damage, including the cost of relocation, testing, the overall cleanup, and medical monitoring.

Biden has even commented on the situation: “Anything they need, we’ll make it available to them.” While all this tragedy was happening in East Palestine, President Biden took a trip to Ukraine. The mayor of East Palestine, Trent R. Conaway, stated that this was a “Slap in the Face” because he felt that his town was forgotten amid the crisis. To this, in an interview with ABC news, Biden states, “‘Let’s put this in perspective. Within two hours of that derailment, the EPA was in there. Within two hours. Every major agency in the United States government that had anything to do rail and/or cleanup was there, and is there” Biden also says, “‘So, there’s a lot more to do, but we’re there to the end to make sure it’s done.’” Norfolk Southern has given all residents in the area of East Palestine a $1000 check, with an additional $5.6 million added to repairs for the city itself. 

New lawsuits are taking place almost every day. Repair workers are still working hard to ensure all residents feel safe and are ready to return, with further new tests of water, air, and soil quality to ensure everything goes back to normal.