East Palestine Disaster Shows How Philanthropy Can Halt Chemical Accidents in Their Tracks


Foundation: Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, Heinz Endowments, Bloomberg Philanthropies

credit:

Train cars carrying oil, gas, and chemicals crisscross our country every two days, and disasters like the one in East Palestine, Ohio, earlier this year are bound to happen again and again.

"I worry every time I hear a train go by that my community may be next," writes environmental advocate Naomi Wolf in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

"East Palestine and Hillsboroughand Brunswick, Georgia; West Newbury, Mass.; and Deatsville, Ala., if you count some of the chemical spills in just the last few weekss sit in a toxic, global web of oil, gas, and petrochemical production that touches everyone in this country."

Wolf is the head of the Health and Environmental Funders Network, which is "expanding the pool of grassroots organizations defending against the rapid spread of fossil-fuel development and petrochemical disasters," she writes.

"But much more support is needed to protect communities from chemical disasters," she adds.

"When it became clear official testing might not be capturing the full extent of the contamination, the nonprofit Environmental Health Project conducted private testing on behalf of Norfolk Southern, which operated the derailed train.

This type of rushed and industry-funded disaster response doesn't exactly inspire trust in the institutions charged with protecting public health."

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