Dare to Care: Jessica Conard of East Palestine speaks about the derailment that upended the community a year ago

Produced By: - February 1, 2024 7:32 am

In this month’s installment of our Dare to Care video series, contributor Natalie Bencivenga interviews Jessica Conard, East Palestine, Ohio resident and Appalachia director of Beyond Plastics to talk about how the community is faring  as we approach the one-year anniversary of the train derailment that exposed the town and surrounding areas to a toxic chemical spill.

“It was pretty much a normal day for us up until the evening,” Conard told us.

“We learned as the weekend unfolded that one of the vinyl chloride cars was leaking and there was risk of an imminent explosion. February 6, which was the following Monday, the decision was made to purposely drain the vinyl chloride cars, not just the one that was leaking, but five cars full of vinyl chloride into the ditchwhich did end up in a lot in our protected waterways—and just set it on fire. That was the solution that they came up with.

As the following weeks unfolded and if you look in the National Transportation Safety Board hearings docket that happened in June, the owners of the vinyl chloride repeatedly stated —testified— that that purposeful event and burn was not necessary and that the train accident was not an accident but 100% preventable…”

Watch the video for more of our interview with Jess Conard.

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Natalie Bencivenga
Natalie Bencivenga

Natalie Bencivenga is a socially conscious journalist and hosts a weekly show on KDKA radio in Pittsburgh. Follow her on Instagram at NatalieBencivenga.

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