We can’t let the petrochemical industry off the hook for the East Palestine disaster

Read the full story at The Hill.

I’ve worked closely with local, state and federal elected officials and senior leadership at environmental agencies for 40 years, running one of the largest environmental non-profits in Pennsylvania. In my experience, these individuals — and particularly career staff at the agency level — mostly want to do the right thing for the public interest, even if it sometimes takes some prodding, from groups like mine (including legal actions when necessary).

But after seeing the devastating environmental disaster unfolding in East Palestine, Ohio, my frustration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ohio EPA is running high. Following the Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern train derailment and the reaction from state and federal officials, it is harder to trust the promises and assurances from those leaders responsible for protecting our communities, especially frontline communities. The only way we can responsibly move forward from this tragedy is to take full account of who is to blame and hold those actors accountable — and without question that includes the petrochemical industry.

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