The debacle in East Palestine, Ohio is getting worse by the day and this time railroad employees are being affected.
The presidents of U.S. railroad unions told Biden administration officials that rail workers have fallen ill at the Norfolk Southern derailment site in East Palestine, Ohio, in a push for more train safety.
Leaders from 12 unions met with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Amit Bose, administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, in Washington, D.C., Wednesday to discuss the derailment, aftermath and needed safety improvements.
“My hope is the stakeholders in this industry can work towards the same goals related to safety when transporting hazardous materials by rail,” said Mike Baldwin, president of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen. “Today’s meeting is an opportunity for labor to share what our members are seeing and dealing with day to day. The railroaders labor represents are the employees who make it safe and they must have the tools to do so.”
CNBC also points out:
CNBC obtained the letters, addressed to Buttigieg, Bose, East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, from the general chairman of the American Rail System Federation of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
According to the letter, Norfolk Southern rail workers who have worked or continue to work the cleanup site have reported experiencing “migraines and nausea.” One worker reportedly asked his supervisor to be transferred off the derailment site because of his symptoms, but never heard back from his supervisor and was left at the job site.
The letter also claims workers are not being provided appropriate personal protective equipment such as respirators, eye protection or protective clothing.
Union leaders accused Norfolk Southern of engaging in cost-cutting by neglecting to provide appropriate safety equipment for railroad employees, a claim the railroad company denies.
The EPA also recently announced they were not going to test for a cancer-linked called dioxin in the vicinity of the crash site. However, science director at the Center for Health, Environment and Justice Stephen Lester pushed back on that idea, saying it was a lame excuse and wrong.
“I think they’re reluctant to test, because they know they will find it, and they will be put in a place where they have to address it,” Dr. Lester told WKBN.
The fact that the EPA won’t even test for a chemical that might be present at the site of the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment speaks volumes as to how un-serious the agency, if not the entire Biden administration is in general, to addressing and facing the realities of this environmental disaster. In the meantime, Ukraine is being well funded.
PHOTO CREDIT: Pixabay