Sunday, 14 Apr 2024

Erin Brockovich tells Ohio explosion locals to 'get out' if unsafe

Erin Brockovich tells residents of East Palestine to ‘get out’ if they don’t feel safe after toxic train explosion and warns locals not to rely on feds for anything as local wildlife begins to drop dead

  • A train carrying toxic fuel from Madison, Illinois to Conway, Pennsylvania derailed on February 3 in Ohio, near the town of East Palestine
  • The EPA say the area is safe to return to but residents are reporting fish and chickens dying in large numbers, and some locals complain of coughs
  • Erin Brockovich, whose environmental crusade was turned into a Julia Roberts film, on Tuesday told residents their priority was taking care of their own health 

Erin Brockovich has urged those living near the Ohio site where a train carrying toxic waste derailed two weeks ago to prioritize their own safety, telling them to be skeptical of EPA assurances that the site is safe.

Brockovich, an environmental lawyer and consultant, whose work battling Pacific Gas & Electric was turned into the 2000 film starring Julia Roberts, said she was deeply concerned about the reports emerging from East Palestine.

‘After 30 years of what I’ve been through, and what this community is going through – come on,’ she said, when asked if she believed EPA statements claiming the site was safe.

‘It’s vinyl chloride, it’s in the air, the fish are dying.

‘Does that give you comfort that maybe I should be in this area? Probably not.’

Erin Brockovich told NewsNation on Tuesday that those living near the Ohio train wreck should take care of themselves as a priority, and not trust government assurances

Fish are seen washed up on the shore near the site of the February 3 crash

Brockovich, 62, told NewsNation that those living near the site needed to take care of themselves, and trust their gut instincts.

She also stressed the importance of recording what they saw and felt.

‘I need the community to act for themselves,’ she told the network.

‘If you feel unsafe, then please – get out of harm’s way. If you feel unsafe, stay sheltered in place. If you’re questioning if it’s all clear, and you think it isn’t, listen to that voice.

‘Document what’s happening to your own health. Document or videotape the fish that are dying, as you move about your community.

‘I think it will be critical.’

The toxic train derailed in a fiery crash on February 3, leading authorities to evacuate the surrounding East Palestine, Ohio area 

A giant plume of smoke from the aftermath of the incident could be seen from miles away

Brockovich said people in the local community could not rely on the government to tell them what to do and how to act.

She said they likely were yet to understand the full extent of the damage.

‘You will have to protect and defend yourself at this moment because I don’t think all the answers are there,’ she said.

‘They will be. But they’re not.

‘So, for the moment, please, use your own instincts: keep yourself safe, ask questions, if you’re uncertain get to safety, and if you see something, say something, and document it.’

On Tuesday, the governor of Pennsylvania – where the train was heading, having departed Madison, Illinois – wrote to the operators of the train to demand answers.

Josh Shapiro told Norfolk Southern the company ‘can be assured that PA will hold [it] accountable for any and all impacts to our Commonwealth.’

The train derailed just over the state line.

Brockovich said that people had been flooding her office with calls, but as yet she had been unable to find a legal firm willing to investigate.

‘I don’t know why. It could be a whole host of reasons,’ she said.

‘My guess would be that there’s no affirmative answer yet. We know it’s vinyl chloride. What the levels are, the EPA is saying everything is safe.

‘So they may just be following the safe thing to do until we know.’

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