1,000 signatures reached
To: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael S. Regan
Stop expansion of the petrochemical industry
Petrochemicals, like the vinyl chloride in transit during the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, on Feb. 3, pose serious health and environmental risks for our communities.
The rapid expansion of the petrochemical industry means that more trains, pipelines and trucks carrying toxic chemicals could be traveling through our communities, putting the health of our families at risk. In order to protect front-line communities and every American potentially impacted by public health crises caused by industry greed:
-We must halt the rapid and unnecessary expansion of petrochemical production in the United States.
-We demand stricter regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency on the petrochemical industry that account for the health of the people and ecosystems surrounding facilities.
-We demand that planning and zoning commissions require — and enforce — buffer zones around petrochemical facilities to protect our communities.
Why is this important?
For decades, the petrochemical industry has been an environmental and public health concern for communities in Texas, Louisiana and the Ohio River Valley, where many of these facilities are located. But the industry's expansion brings those concerns to the backyards of millions of Americans. After the most recent freight train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, officials are still releasing lists of carcinogenic chemicals that have tainted the community's air, making it difficult to breathe. Chemicals from the derailment have spilled into the Ohio River, affecting the water supply for 25 million people in the region.
From the discovery of toxic chemicals in St. James Parish, Louisiana, to the cancer cluster discovered in Houston’s Fifth Ward, we’ve seen what happens when the government allows private corporations in the petrochemical industry to operate unchecked for the sake of profit. Time and time again, the EPA’s refusal to regulate this industry — or to place sanctions on the corporations that operate negligently — has led to countless ecological disasters, which often take their greatest toll on the health of Black and low-income communities. These communities then are left with few resources or recourse once their homes suddenly are made dangerous and unlivable, and even fewer options once the news cameras leave. That’s why we know that the lack of regulation that allowed a corporation to endanger the health of East Palestine’s residents is the same lack of regulation that will continue to lead to the loss of countless lives in vulnerable communities across the nation if we do not take action. We must make a commitment to halt the unnecessary expansion of the petrochemical industry now.
The communities affected by the Norfolk Southern derailment deserve answers and accountability.
No one from the petrochemical industry showed up at a recent town hall to address these community concerns in East Palestine, Ohio. And it remains unclear which corporation is responsible for the chemicals being transported by Norfolk Southern, the rail company responsible for the derailment. Residents hope to get some answers when environmental activist Erin Brockovich and civil litigator Mikal C. Watts address a town hall on Friday, Feb. 24, at East Palestine High School.
We must stop the expansion of this industry and move beyond petrochemicals. Sign this petition and join our movement today.