Tensions boiled over between frustrated residents of East Palestine, Ohio, and a railroad company official at a Thursday town hall in the East Palestine High School auditorium.
Angered residents pleaded with Darrell Wilson, a representative from Norfolk Southern, the company that owns the derailed train, who had arrived to answer questions at the meeting, The New York Times reported. Town hall attendees constantly heckled and shouted at him with demands to clean up the disastrous toxic spill and to evacuate them from the area of the Feb. 3 derailment.
“We are sorry,” Wilson told the residents. “We’re very sorry for what happened. We feel horrible about it.”
“Evacuate us!” one yelled.
“Get my grandchildren out of here!” another yelled. “If you care about us, get our grandkids out.”
I’m creating so many friends in East Palestine, Republicans, Democrats and Independents who are fighting to get things right…they want justice and to stop petrochemicals & Vinyl Chloride
I’m at Main Street Theater for another East Palestine Town Hall, having real conversations pic.twitter.com/QxZVL4fORS
— rev yearwood ✊🏾 (@RevYearwood) March 2, 2023
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it had instructed Norfolk Southern to test for dioxins and toxic pollutants and also directed the company to pay for all the community cleanup connected to the spill. Residents unleashed their anger on EPA officials present at the meeting. (RELATED: Trump To Donate Water, Cleaning Supplies During Trip To East Palestine)
“Why did you wait so long?” one man in attendance said to EPA representative Debra Shore.
Wilson vowed to clean up the derailment site and eliminate all of the contamination. One resident cried, “No, you’re not!” in response to the representative’s promise.
Many residents complained of being evacuated from their homes and suffering from health ailments, including rashes and vomiting, due to the toxic chemical exposure, the outlet reported.
Anne M. Vogel, the director of the Ohio EPA, said the water has not tested for high contamination, the Times reported. A woman yelled in response, “What about private wells? We’ll just stay here and die.” The residents yelled out, “Start now!” and “It’s too late!” in response to the EPA’s announcement that dioxin testing has begun.
Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw announced Thursday he will pay the scholarships of East Palestine college or vocational school students. He intends to use his pre-scheduled stock sale to cover the costs.
Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday that 2.1 million gallons of liquid waste and 1,400 tons of solid waste have been removed from the derailment site thus far.