Erin Brockovich holds town hall in East Palestine at the invitation of the residents
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Consumer advocate and environmental activist Erin Brockovich takes the stage in East Palestine, telling the residents don’t be discouraged, because you do have a voice and it needs to be heard, “You’re going to be told it’s safe, you’re going to be told not to worry, that’s just rubbish.”
Brockovich told a crowd of about 2500 people who gathered for the Town Hall in the East Palestine High School auditorium that she is here at the invitation of the residents. She received emails and phone calls from people who live in the area asking her for help. Brockovich says she’s here to help for the long haul and she didn’t mince words, “You own this narrative, not an agency that wasn’t here when it happened, and certainly not Norfolk Southern that wasn’t here.”
Friday, marks three weeks since that train derailment disaster that began with a massive fire that forced people to evacuate their homes due to the threat of an explosion from the toxic chemicals on-board. In order to prevent an explosion what was called a controlled explosion was held that sent ominous clouds of smoke and chemicals into the air.
Brockovich famous for helping the people of Hinkley, California get a major settlement to help with the impact of contaminated water in their town, are still seeing the impact years later. Brockovich told the people of East Palestine and surrounding communities there’s no easy fix and the full fallout from the derailment may not fully be revealed until years from now, “In a moment like this you will become the strongest advocate you have.”
Brockovich along with an Ohio law firm and Attorney Michael Watts presented approximately 160 slides of information on the history of train derailments all over the country over the last few decades, showing the increase in the number of trains that have jumped the tracks with toxic chemicals.
Attorney Watts even told the crowd about the wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of Wessie L. Hardy of New Jersey, against a number of companies including Norfolk Southern. Hardy was tragically killed from exposure to Vinyl Chloride following a trail derailment in New Jersey, the same chemical that was a threat in East Palestine. “The decedent was working in her yard at the time of the incident (train derailment). She was admitted to the hospital due to difficulty breathing, chest pains, burning and irritation to the eyes. She passed away four days later.”
Erin Brockovich says she has now been contacted by some Norfolk Southern employees who are revealing what the problems and concerns are following the train derailment in East Palestine. Lilly Grouleau of East Palestine says she’s thankful to learn the history of all the derailments, as well as detailed information on how dangerous the chemicals on the train are and the potential impact if exposed, “I love the fact that there’s not a bunch of he said, she said. there’s actually information and answers tonight.”
Telling the crowd this is not her first rodeo and to stick together, Erin Brockovich also urged residents to document anything that could be related to the derailment, including health issues, air and water tests, “I feel your angst, I feel your frustration. I know your may feel alone, but you are not alone.”
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