Representatives from Norfolk Southern failed to attend Wednesday’s public hearing in East Palestine (Ohio) to discuss the toxic chemical spillage that occurred in February on one of their trains.
The Norfolk Southern train that was carrying highly toxic and carcinogenic chemicals crashed into a building on Friday, February 1. This caused a massive fire that affected thousands of people, animals, and wildlife. According to the BBC, representatives of the organization were scheduled for a public meeting Wednesday.
Hundreds of people gathered at a high school in the area to ask questions about water and air quality. However, officials from the company pulled out last minute due to security concerns, prompting anger from residents.
The BBC reported that thousands of dead fish were found in the waterways around the town. Residents also showed media the number of dead chickens. People have also claimed difficulties receiving water quality testing.
“I’m just so frustrated. Trent Conaway, the mayor of the town, stated to the crowd that he lives in the same community as you. “I’m trying for answers.”
They have something to hide. According to the BBC, Jaime Cozza, an East Palestine resident said that you don’t have to back down from answering questions if they are clear. “It was almost like a bomb exploded in our town.
Residents and business owners have filed lawsuits against Norfolk Southern, alleging negligence, and pushing for Norfolk Southern’s reimbursement of the costs of court-supervised medical screenings to determine potential health effects from exposure to vinyl chloride and hydrogen chloride.
Norfolk Southern released a statement stating that company representatives became “increasingly worried about the growing threat.” It is unclear why they didn’t move to remote video-conference settings where they could answer questions safely. The firm did not respond to requests for clarification.
Despite residents’ health concerns, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), continues to say that there is no current threat to the local population.