At first glance, the culprit behind the East Palestine train derailment disaster is Norfolk Southern (NS), the company that owns and operates the now-wrecked engine and cars. However, a closer look at the situation reveals that the United States government is actually the responsible party.
You see, freight rail companies in the U.S. are forced by the government to transport dangerous chemicals like vinyl chloride – even when they would otherwise reject these loads. They call these types of freight loads Toxic Inhalation Hazard, or TIH, chemicals, which include chlorine and ammonia.
Union Pacific (UP), a competitor of NS, released the following statement, which explains in further detail how rail companies have no say in the matter of what they transport:
“Under the common carrier obligation, the federal government requires railroads to transport hazmat, whether they want to or not. Trucks and barges do not have this same obligation and may refuse to carry hazmat at their discretion. Union Pacific does not make Toxic Inhalation Hazard materials, own the tank cars that move TIH or decide the origin or destination to which it is shipped. However, the common carrier obligation requires Union Pacific to transport TIH.”
Truth be told, UP and NS would more than likely never say no to transporting these chemicals in the first place because to do so would be to turn down profits. But this caveat in the law allows rail companies to avoid taking responsibility when things go wrong because the government made me do it.
“The railroads just want somebody to blame. And so does the federal government,” writes Jon Rappoport on his Substack. “And so do the chemical companies who manufacture the poisons and want them transported.”
“You could even say these three forces are doing THEATER. ‘You blame me and I’ll blame him and he’ll blame you.’”
(Related: Residents of East Palestine have issued a list of demands to the government calling for swift action in response to the disaster.)
Railroads are getting away with using antiquated and dangerous braking systems that cause serious wrecks, thanks to Trump
From this perspective, rail companies like UP and NS and the federal government are both to blame for the East Palestine disaster. They both blame each other when something goes wrong and voila: nobody is ever held responsible for the fallout.
Rail giants are able to pocket major fees for carrying the deadly chemicals that the federal government “forces” them to move. They’re all in it together, in other words.
There is also no incentive for the railroads to upgrade the technologies on their fleets because when a disaster happens, it is just a blame game all around until the dust settles and the whole thing gets swept under the rug.
“Follow this bouncing ball: The braking systems for most of these huge freight trains are based on 19th century technology,” Rappoport explains. “This means when the trains are suddenly stopped, the cars tend to bunch up, and you can get a derailment … The new electronic braking systems avoid this horrendous problem.”
“The feds want all trains carrying highly hazardous materials to have the new braking system. But during the Trump administration, federal regulators backed off and basically said: ‘If a train carries both safe and dangerous materials, we won’t classify the train as a hazard and we won’t demand the train has the new (and expensive) braking system.”
“That piece of sly bull***t saved railroad companies a huge amount of money.”
Be sure to read Rappoport’s full report on the matter.
More of the latest news about the East Palestine disaster can be found at Disaster.news.
Sources for this article include: