Last Friday, a “bomb train” including five train cars filled with vinyl chloride, most commonly used to make PVC and other toxic plastics, derailed along the border between the States of Ohio and Pennsylvania in the U.S.
In order to avoid explosions Norfolk Southern, the company responsible for transporting the chemicals, has been conducting “controlled release” of the chemical and burning it, despite serious concerns raised by the local community about how this is harming their health and the environment!
BFFP US Members have been directly impacted by this ongoing crisis, and we are asking for your support today.
Vinyl chloride is a highly unstable, toxic chemical used to create polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is the third-most widely produced plastic in the world. Even though PVC is also toxic, its chemical stability allows it to be turned into pipes, tiles, etc. Unfortunately, train derailments occur roughly 1,000 times a year in the United States, though they rarely receive this much attention.
The train derailment happened outside East Palestine, Ohio, on the border of Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Beaver County is also where Shell recently opened their new ethane cracker, which BFFP Members and allies have been opposing for years. This is an important site fight for our movement – yesterday, today, and until we stop the petrochemical industry!
BFFP US Members have been directly impacted, including River Valley Organizing, Breathe Project, Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community (BCMAC), Center for Coalfield Justice, members of the People Over Petro Coalition, and more. Some people have been displaced from their homes, and it is unclear what the future holds.
There are three immediate ways you can help:
1. Give mutual aid to River Valley Organizing directly, in order to help fund their community organizing work locally, including community meetings, legal assistance, water and soil testing, as well as important campaigning over the weeks and months ahead. That link is below.
2. Sign the petition calling for Governor DeWine of Ohio to declare a federal emergency and push President Biden to send aid immediately.
3. If you want to discuss other ways your organization can offer support (e.g. funding for videos, photography, investigative journalism), please email USCoordination@breakfreefromplastic.org.