An east Palestinian resident has delivered an urgent message to the chief executive of Norfolk Southern Rail after pledging to clean up the toxic derailment site.
That’s something they need to do in the long term.” This city needs an endurance test. There are a lot of people who don’t want to stick around and you really can’t blame them. Small child. I don’t know if I have small children, [if] I will stay because it is something that will affect us in the long term. And that will be very important to me.
Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw met with officials in eastern Palestine on Saturday and told reporters he was there to “support the community” after the rail operator was hit with a levy for its response to the February 3 train derailment disaster magnifying glass was taken.
When the train carrying 50 cars, 10 of which were carrying vinyl chloride, derailed, hazardous chemicals spilled onto the ground and a plume of smoke was sent flying into the air.
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As a result of the chemical spill, residents living within a mile radius were evacuated, and many reported health symptoms including sore throats, headaches and other respiratory problems.
Norfolk Southern has written a letter saying it has heard from residents of eastern Palestine and that cleanup work and coordination with federal, state, and local authorities is ongoing. The company did not attend a public meeting last week for safety reasons for its employees.
In its latest statement Friday, Norfolk Southern said it was obligated to pay the associated costs.
The Fosters, who own several rental properties in the East Palestinian territories and lived at home during the disaster, recalled some of the symptoms were very bad.
We are actually outside the evacuation zone, right on the edge. My husband complained of headaches last week. We have a rental property, one of our duplexes is right in front of the railroad. And I went there the day after the evacuation and I was there for maybe 10 or 15 minutes just to check and I felt like I had sand in my throat. I had a sore throat for a few days after that, Foster explained.
Ohio’s governor advises bottled water, though officials say testing the water is fine.
Foster, who has been reluctant to move from the area because of his business ties, said his family was listening and hopefully the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other government officials were right when they said the water and air were potable and breathe.
We use municipal water, but we use bottled water, says Foster. We’ll be testing our own waters, just for our own peace of mind.
Foster’s main concern is water pollution, with potentially toxic water leaking into other local communities.
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