Train Derailment Response Totally Irresponsible

Dear Editor,

As an environmental scientist, I am sorely disappointed with the state and federal government’s response to the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, and the decision to burn off the contents of the tank cars.

This approach could not have been vetted by any scientific group or board.  It was totally irresponsible and has created a panic situation for the citizens of this area.  Further, it is never acceptable for the party responsible for the release (Norfolk Southern Railroad) to have their consultants perform the critical testing needed to assure that the release was being mitigated correctly.

The public would never have any acceptance of the results of the testing performed by a non-independent group.

Where are the state and federal agencies? Where were the secretaries of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Protection?  Where was the president?

This is the same lack of response from our regulatory groups as with the water crisis in Flint Michigan.  The local citizens need information.  The EPA has the capabilities to respond to situations such as this, but where are they?  Perform the testing, publish the test results and explain what the data means to the citizens of the area.

It is not sufficient to just say “the water is safe.”  What about the air quality? You burn vinyl chloride which is a known carcinogen and tell everyone not to worry?

This incident is a great example of the incompetence of the Biden administration in dealing with a crisis.  When the citizens have no faith in the government, it is time to replace them with people who have true qualifications to fill the roles that they are given rather than filling positions to meet diversity.

A. Barry Nelson