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Environmental groups push for EPA — not Norfolk Southern —  to lead testing for dioxins

Broken railroad tracks near the site of the derailment in East Palestine. "They've just crushed this town," said Patrick Souders.
Oliver Morrison
90.5 WESA
Broken railroad tracks near the site of the derailment in East Palestine.

More than 100 environmental groups in Pennsylvania, Ohio and other states are asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to lead the testing for dioxins at the site of the Norfolk Southern train derailment, in East Palestine. 

In a letter dated yesterday, the Breathe Project, Penn Future, and other groups urged the EPA to publicize a plan for testing, including specifying the locations of the tests and the types of samples to be collected.  

The agency announced earlier this month it would require Norfolk Southern to conduct the tests.

But the groups who signed the Monday letter say the EPA itself should conduct testing or hire its own consultants: "To ensure this testing is adequately conducted, and to rebuild public trust, we strongly recommend the U.S. EPA itself conduct the dioxin sampling or hire its own consultants to conduct the testing. Norfolk Southern should not be in charge of the dioxin sampling. This testing must be paid for by the responsible parties, not taxpayers."

The signatories also challenged an agency statement that monitoring for so-called "indicator chemicals" suggested a low probability of the release of dioxins from the incident. 

State lawmakers are holding a public meeting in Beaver County today on the impact of the February 3rd derailment. 

Doug Shugarts is a 23-year veteran of broadcast news. Doug began his career at WBUR in Boston, where he worked on the nationally-syndicated programs “The Connection” and “Here and Now.” He won awards for best use of sound, coverage of the 2003 war in Iraq, and helped launch the station’s local news program, “Radio Boston.” In 2014 Doug moved across town to GBH and helped reboot morning news programming and launch other broadcast and web projects. Doug studied Composition at Berklee College of Music and Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of California. A resident of Pittsburgh’s Southside, Doug enjoys feasting on arepas and yucca fries at Cilantro and Ajo and meeting his canine neighbors at Big Dog Coffee.