East Palestine residents react to NTSB chair’s testimony on necessity of controlled burn, explosion

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — The NTSB chair testified in a Senate committee hearing on Wednesday, describing the controlled blast of toxic chemicals in East Palestine last year as “unnecessary.”

Channel 11′s Rich Pierce went to East Palestine and spoke with residents after what Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) called an “extraordinary finding.”

>> Controlled burn, explosion weren’t necessary after East Palestine train derailment, NTSB chair says

The testimony confirmed what many already believed, that they never needed to be exposed to the chemicals.

“Honestly, when I watched this testimony, I was in tears,” Misti Allison said. “It’s extremely troubling and disheartening.”

“One of the things I realized that was new information today is that whether or not this was information that was accidentally or intentionally withheld, this now feels like a crime,” Jess Conard said.

A crime, Conrad says, against the people of East Palestine.

“Is the vinyl chloride stabilized? Is the temperature decreasing? Is the car doing its job?” Conrad said. “These questions seem very common sense and seem like sense isn’t very common in this situation we’re going through.”

Channel 11 received statements from Norfolk Southern and Congressman Chris Deluzio (D-Pa.).

Norfolk Southern:

“The final decision to conduct a controlled release was made by the Incident Commander, with input from multiple stakeholders, including Norfolk Southern and local, state, and federal authorities. The top priority of everyone involved was the safety of the community, as well as limiting the impact of the incident. The successful controlled release prevented a potentially catastrophic uncontrolled explosion that could have caused significant damage for the community. To date, continuous environmental testing in coordination with and alongside US and Ohio EPA has shown the air and drinking water in the community are safe.”

Congressman Chris Deluzio:

“Today’s testimony by NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy was shocking. The implication is clear: Norfolk Southern forced an unnecessary vent and burn of toxic chemicals to clear the tracks and get their trains moving. That greed threatened the health of my constituents—because profits mattered more than our safety. We cannot trust big railroads to regulate themselves. It’s time to pass my bill, the Railway Safety Act.”

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