16 Feb 2023 There’s No “Environmental Justice” for East Palestine, Ohio
“The derailment of a chemical-laden Norfolk Southern freight train, resulting in huge plumes of smoke and persistent odors, has residents of East Palestine, Ohio baffled over a federal response bordering on indifference,” says National Center Senior Fellow Bonner Cohen, Ph.D.
Not only has Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg not visited the site nearly two weeks after the accident, but EPA Administrator Michael Regan has not bothered to return home from a trip to Africa, where he is meeting with officials in Ghana and Sierra Leone to discuss the climate.
Some EPA personnel have been on-site, testing the air and water for dangerous contamination. And while to date they have said there are no health risks to humans, pets or livestock, the air is being tested with handheld devices that do not deliver the accuracy of lab tests.
Similarly, the reported death of 3,500 fish raises questions about the water quality of nearby streams. Saying that residents can safely return home before there is an adequate understanding of the cumulative human exposure to the contaminated air and water is irresponsible.
EPA spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year on “environmental justice,” but there doesn’t appear to be any environmental justice in East Palestine, Ohio.