US Govt Agency: Ohio Train Derailment "100% Preventable"

    US Govt Agency: Ohio Train Derailment "100% Preventable"
    Last updated Feb 23, 2023
    Image credit: AP [via CNBC]


    • On Thursday, the US National Transportation Safety Board issued its preliminary report on the train derailment that occurred outside East Palestine, Ohio. Authorities did not identify an exact cause of the derailment, however, they were able to identify an overheated wheel bearing on the locomotive.
    • On Feb. 3, 38 cars of a train transporting toxic chemicals derailed. As a result of the derailment, many cars caught fire and were eventually contained two days later; officials remained concerned that the cars carrying the toxic chemicals were still vulnerable to an explosion.
    • In a press conference announcing the report release, Board Chairwoman Jennifer Homendy said, "it was a combination of the hot axle and the plastic pellets which started the initial fire." The issue was identified in a surveillance video from a nearby residence showing "what appeared to be a wheel bearing in the final stage of overheat failure moments before the derailment."
    • Homendy also said, "I can tell you this much: This was 100% preventable." She went on to say that the derailment should thus not be considered an accident due to its preventable nature.
    • The report was released one day following the Dept. of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg's visit to East Palestine, in which his response was criticized. His visit also followed a visit by former President Trump.
    • A final report is expected to be released within the next 12 to 18 months. Buttigieg suggested Norfolk Southern and Trump-era deregulation policies are primary factors in the derailment.


    Narrative A

    US government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency have stepped up to ensure that the residents of East Palestine and the affected area are treated fairly and that Norfolk Southern is held accountable. Norfolk Southern has been given a legally-binding order to pay for the cleanup and restoration. The company will also be held accountable for any health issues they've caused. Strong government action is holding Norfolk Southern accountable.

    Narrative B

    It's clear that officials and the media are not being transparent about how far this catastrophe reaches. Chemical spills this large have long-standing implications on life in the impacted area. Residents are experiencing headaches, rashes, nausea, and other discomforts and are feeling a disconnect between what they are feeling and what they are being told. Residents are demanding accountability and transparency as they navigate this devastating disaster and try to make health and safety decisions — right now, there is a major disconnect.

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