"Last month, Brenda Foster stood on the railroad tracks at the edge of her yard in East Palestine, Ohio, and watched a smoky inferno billow from the wreckage of a derailed train. The chemicals it was carrying — and the fire that consumed them — were so toxic that the entire area had to evacuate."
Great Lakes (IL IN MI MN OH WI)
Under federal rules, states can decide whether to divulge information about hazardous materials rolling along their railways — and mostly they don’t. Not knowing where and when hazmat trains are traveling or what’s on board creates anxiety and raises the risk for those who live near the tracks. TipSheet offers resources and step-by-step instructions for investigating railway hazmat threats to your community.
"Contaminated soil from the site around the East Palestine train wreck in Ohio is being sent to a nearby incinerator with a history of clean air violations, raising fears that the chemicals being removed from the ground will be redistributed across the region."
Two journalists covering water policy used a wide range of reporting techniques, from FOIA appeals to on-the-ground reporting, to get at the heart of how problems with wetlands and waterways in the United States are tied to climate change concerns. Inside Story spoke with Hannah Northey and Kevin Bogardus of E&E News about their award-winning beat reporting.
"On Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered rail operator Norfolk Southern to begin testing for dioxins."
"All fish caught in Michigan rivers and tested for toxic PFAS contained the chemicals – and at levels that present a health risk for anyone eating them, according to a new study."
"President Joe Biden on Friday directed federal agencies to go door-to-door in East Palestine, Ohio, to check on families affected by the toxic train derailment that has morphed into a heated political controversy."
"The Environmental Protection Agency will take control of the response to the Ohio train derailment and order rail company Norfolk Southern to clean up the contamination, the agency said Tuesday, the Biden administration’s strongest response yet to the disaster."
"The Trump administration abandoned rail safety rules that were pursued during the Obama era. The Biden administration is trying to revive some of them."
In the wake of the train derailment and toxic spill in Ohio, now is a good time for environmental journalists to be ready for the next such accident. The latest Reporter’s Toolbox offers up a data source for another transportation risk — hazardous materials transported via highway. Plus, why rail hazmat data can be trickier to access.