Norfolk Southern gave $5 to Ohio East Palestinians affected by toxic train explosion

Originally published at: Norfolk Southern gave $5 to Ohio East Palestinians affected by toxic train explosion | Boing Boing


Live within 20 miles of an American railroad right-of-way? You might someday be the lucky recipient of a $5 bill too!

More on this from Cory. This disaster goes directly to regulatory capture enabled by monopolistic practises.


I’m told that they’ve even agreed that anyone with under 200ppm vinyl chloride in their blood can be tried for theft of company property as a misdemeanor rather than a felony; over 200ppm, of course, it’s too important to impose consequences for personal irresponsibility. Noblesse oblige at work.


The board for Norfolk Southern should swap houses with those most effected.


Railroad company all like


With the exact same level of derision as Walter White.


Train derailments are shockingly common, too. There are four derailments a day in the US. Most are not toxic waste nightmares of course, but still, I found that number quite surprising. As usual, Rebecca Watson has a good take on it all.

For the curious, Canada had its own version of this event a couple of years ago. Hazardous chemicals were regularly hauled around a sketchy corner right in the middle of the the town of Lac-Mégantic. It was only a matter of time until something terrible happened, and in 2013 it did, killing 47 people (the worst rail accident in Canadian history).

The government is now forcing the railroad to build a bypass around the town, so that’s a nice outcome, at least.


which lead the company to decide that the best course of action was to burn the chemicals and turn them into a horrifyingly massive smoke plume over the 5,000-person town. Oops.

Once you’ve fucked up enough that you have a cloud of something like vinyl chloride, burning it is actually the sensible option. A more immediate problem than it being carcinogenic is that it’s explosive, far better to burn it off deliberately, rather than waiting for a stray spark to do so. Plus, once it’s burned, instead of a dangerous carcinogen, you’re left with carbon monoxide and hydrogen chloride, which is slightly better, and at least it’s less explosive.
I’m not defending the company, they’ve clearly fucked up a lot, but burning the VCM was the best option they had at that point for making things less dangerous. Blame them for what they got wrong, not the stuff that was ok.


“We’re giving everyone $5 … in the form of a $5 voucher good at any restaurant in the food court. We got the idea from the airlines. So whether you feel like a Whopper or the great fresh taste of Subway, all you need to do is sign this waiver giving up your right to sue Norfolk Southern and collect your voucher. Enjoy!!!”


Thank you so so much for covering this Boing Boing!! Outstanding journalism. Where is your Noble Prize?

Now maybe if the New York Times had put in War Type on it’s front page and through it’s extensive social media accounts over and over again – where are the investigation?? Perhaps they could now lay blame also on where some of it belongs. Congress. I’m not sure which part of the executive is responsible for enforcing rules on the railroad monopoly but they too were lax on the job for this entirely PREVENTABLE disaster. It is the job of the government to listen to unions when they sound the alarm and it is the job of the media to alert the public when the government is not doing its job.

I hope everyone who lives within two miles of railroad are extensively interviewed about how they are visiting with and writing letters to their elected officials to ensure this does not happen again. Listen to UNIONS!

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