Climate Power Executive Director: Bomb Train Disaster in East Palestine “Completely Preventable”

DATE: February 22, 2023
CONTACT: Eden Alem, [email protected]

Climate Power Executive Director: Bomb Train Disaster in East Palestine “Completely Preventable”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, as former President Trump visits East Palestine, Climate Power Executive Director Lori Lodes released the following statement on the volatile petrochemical disaster in East Palestine, Ohio: 

“Trump visiting East Palestine years after his administration gutted rail safety rules is nothing more than a political stunt aimed at gaining media attention for his failing presidential run. If Trump really cared about preventing bomb train explosions, he should’ve strengthened rules that prevented toxic chemical explosions, and held petrochemical and railroad corporations accountable.

“The completely preventable disaster in East Palestine is just the latest example of how lives are torn apart when corporations put their interests and bottom lines first ahead of public health and safety. Transporting petrochemicals and petroleum-based products threatens the health and wellbeing of families, communities, and workers across the nation. For too long, corporate special interests have put profits over people, resulting in bomb train explosions becoming far too common. These disasters will continue to occur unless we hold corporations to higher standards.”

The petrochemical and railroad industries have stopped at nothing to reverse regulations aimed at keeping communities safe. Here are some of the ways that Big Oil, petrochemical, and railroad companies have worked against passing safety measures: 

  • Norfolk Southern Corp. and other railroad groups had fought against the Obama Administration’s effort to enact a new safety rule aimed at regulating the transportation of hazardous materials to prevent bomb train explosions. 
  • After intense lobbying from the railway industry, in 2018, Trump’s Department of Transportation reversed rules aimed at strengthening breaking rules for trains transporting oil and flammable materials. 
  • While the EPA is currently reviewing rules to make communities safer in the result of chemical accidents, the Association of American Railroads is fighting against new proposals aimed at limiting the movement of toxic, hazardous materials. 

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