Beaver County

East Palestine Justice group holds town hall in Beaver County

BEAVER COUNTY, Pa. — The group East Palestine Justice held its first town hall in Pennsylvania on Wednesday.

The forum was a chance for people affected by the derailment to learn legal background about the situation and what steps they can take next.

“It’s kind of like being stuck in an abyss because you don’t know which way to go,” Lori O’Connell said. She lives in Darlington Township, about three miles from the derailment site. “We have issues we’re dealing with: coughs, headaches, red eyes, burning eyes, itching eyes.”

“Frankly, toxic chemicals don’t worry about where the state line ends. They’ll go where the wind pushes them,” Mikal Watts said. Watts is a trial lawyer and led Wednesday’s town hall.

He’s part of the same group led in part by famous environmental activist Erin Brockovich and has been part of numerous town halls in Ohio since the derailment. He tells Channel 11 there are some differences in state law.

“Economic Loss Doctrine limits the ability to recover property damage from people with whom you lack a certain contractual relationship. In terms of personal injury [...] functionally the same thing,” Watts said.

He’s also advising anyone who thinks they may be affected to get their blood, urine and DNA tested.

The group is planning another town hall on March 23 at 4:30 p.m. at Blackhawk High School. Erin Brockovich is expected to attend.

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