- River Valley Organizing, an Ohio nonprofit, compiled a list of demands for Norfolk Southern on Tuesday after a train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed and spilled contaminants into East Palestine in early February.
- The demands include relocation for concerned residents, independent environmental testing, medical testing and monitoring, the safe disposal of toxic waste and for Norfolk Southern to cover the total cost of cleanup efforts, its Facebook page reads.
- “We heard the people of East Palestine loud and clear: what they want are safe homes and independent testing,” Jami Cozy, RVO organizer and East Palestine resident, told WKBN.
Residents of a small Ohio village compiled a list of demands for Norfolk Southern and government agencies on Tuesday after a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in early February, according to a Facebook post.
River Valley Organizing (RVO), a local nonprofit, organized the list of five demands for the railroad company nearly one month after the derailment led to approximately 2,000 East Palestine residents being evacuated and a controlled burn on Feb. 6 spilled toxins into the air and water. The demands include relocation for concerned residents, independent environmental testing, medical testing and monitoring, the safe disposal of toxic waste and for Norfolk Southern to cover the total cost of cleanup efforts, according to its Facebook post. (RELATED: ‘We’re Still Here’: Three Years After COVID Lockdowns, Toxic Train Derailment Hits Ohio Businesses Again)
“We heard the people of East Palestine loud and clear: what they want are safe homes and independent testing,” Jami Cozy, RVO organizer and East Palestine resident, told WKBN. “It is only through coming together and demanding action that we will hold Norfolk Southern accountable and get families and businesses in our community the help they are owed.”
The first demand requests Norfolk Southern pay for any resident concerned about remaining in the village to temporarily relocate to a hotel or safe house. Residents were permitted to return to the village on Feb. 8, but some admitted to feel unsafe during the RVO community town hall held Feb. 23.
RVO also demanded the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conduct air, soil and water testing for dioxins, which are chemical compounds known to take a long time to break down and could cause health risks, according to the EPA website. EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore said that the agency will not currently test for dioxins because it does not “have baseline information in this area to do a proper test.”
It also demands that Federal Health & Human Services “provide ongoing health monitoring” and “guarantee health coverage” as residents reported health concerns such as headaches and rashes. One resident previously told the Daily Caller News Foundation her child became sick after playing in the local park after the derailment.
The Ohio Department of Health opened a health clinic earlier this month to screen residents for medical concerns. The clinic is free and visitors can have their vitals taken and receive a medical evaluation, according to a Feb. 22 update by the department.
RVO also voiced concern about toxic waste from the derailment being disposed “in the heritage thermal toxic incinerator” in East Liverpool, Ohio, which neighbors the village. RVO said the incinerator “has already been polluting our communities for years” and “will only further spread the contaminants.”
The final demand calls on Norfolk Southern to agree to pay the complete cost for all “testing, relocation, cleanup, medical monitoring and costs, and an independent science advisor,” the post reads.
“Taxpayers shouldn’t foot this bill. Norfolk Southern made this mess. They should clean it up,” RVO wrote.
RVO surveyed the local community by knocking doors, making phone calls, canvassing and listening to residents during the town hall to compile the demand list, according to the Facebook post.
The EPA screened 578 homes for re-entry as of Feb. 27 and are monitoring several locations in the village, according to the latest press release. University researchers analyzed EPA data and warn that that air quality could result in long-term health complications.
“Compared to EPA National Air Toxics data (NATA 2014), some concentrations in East Palestine (OH) for 9 out of ~50 chemicals EPA reported are higher than ‘normal.’ If these levels continue, they may be of health concern (especially acrolein),” the Texas A&M Superfund Research Center tweeted Feb. 24.
RVO did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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