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Frustration Mounts in Ohio Over Toxic Train Derailment

Posted on in Federalism · Environmental Policy · Local Politics · Bureaucracy · State Government

A freight train operated by Norfolk Southern derailed in East Palestine on February 3 resulting in a chemical spill of hazardous materials. Approximately, 1,500 residents of the small Ohio town were evacuated while local officials managed a controlled release of vinyl chloride which created an imposing black plume. The evacuation order was lifted days later but residents were greeted by a pungent odor while many have experienced symptoms that could be related to the toxic spill. Some experts predict that the environmental damage will be more extensive than initially believed.

Why has the governor not declared a disaster?

Instructors: click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.

Download: CQP_Lecture_Spark_PPT_Frustration Mounts in Ohio over Toxic Train Derailment


News Articles

What we know about the Ohio train derailment




Political fallout over federal response to Ohio train derailment

ABC News



Norfolk Southern CEO visits Ohio after train derailment, says ‘I’m here to support the community’

Fox Business



What to Know About the Lawsuits Against the Company at the Center of the Ohio Train Derailment




How dangerous train derailments affect communities like East Palestine, Ohio

Yahoo News



White House defends response to toxic train derailment in Ohio




Videos show ‘disgusting’ slicks in creek water near Ohio train derailment. What’s going on?

USA Today



Ohio governor says FEMA will provide resources to East Palestine

The Hill




Writing: Explain the challenges a president faces when responding to natural, or man-made, disaster. What more can President Biden or his administration do to reassure the residents of East Palestine?

Debate: Which level of government should ultimately be responsible for the response to the train derailment disaster in East Palestine, Ohio, the state or the federal government?

Poll: Should East Palestine residents trust that the air and water are safe?

Short Answer: How did FEMA change course after initially concluding that East Palestine residents would not be eligible for federal aid?

News Quiz


Governor DeWine initially declined federal assistance for Ohio. (T/F)

Senator Manchin called the response from top administration officials ‘unacceptable.’ (T/F)

The U.S. has averaged about 1,700 train derailments from 1990 to 2021. (T/F)

Multiple Choice

Why did Norfolk Southern pull out of a joint town hall meeting with state and local leaders?

  1. the meeting was scheduled with little notice
  2. a snowstorm made travel too difficult
  3. concerns about physical safety to Norfolk Southern employees
  4. continued concerns about air quality

Which toxic chemicals were at risk of exploding prompting Governor DeWine to order a controlled release?

  1. helium
  2. hydrochloric acid
  3. sodium thiopental
  4. vinyl chloride

Senator Rubio sent a letter to President Biden demanding that Secretary Buttigieg _________.

  1. dispatch the NTSB to East Palestine
  2. release Department of Transportation funding for East Palestine residents
  3. resign
  4. release a statement about the disaster in East Palestine

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