On February 27, 2023, We the Patriots USA Inc. — a Caldwell, Idaho non-profit organization — and an East Palestine resident filed a complaint in federal court. The lawsuit alleges Environmental Protection Agencies (EPAs) and Ohio Governor DeWine did not take necessary action after the Norfolk Southern train derailment and chemical spill.
The resident’s home is just about 300 feet from where the Norfolk Southern train derailment and toxic chemical spill occurred.
We the Patriots allege the EPAs violated residents’ 14th amendment rights. Specifically, they deprived them of life, liberty, or property.
Lawsuit Against Ohio Governor and Federal and State EPAs Over East Palestine Chemical Spill
The lawsuit seeks an injunction that would bar the EPA from providing false assurances to the residents of East Palestine that air and water quality in their communities is safe until it can be proven to be so. Furthermore, the non-profit is asking for the court to order the agencies to conduct industry-standard occupational contaminant testing.
The plaintiffs claim that some residents around the Norfolk Southern freight train derailment were given just minutes before emergency crews blew up several rail cars and conducted controlled burns of their chemicals. It is estimated that approximately 1,000,000 pounds of vinyl chloride were released into the atmosphere as a result of these actions.
The complaint also claims that despite knowing of the risks associated with the chemicals released in the air and water, EPAs informed the public that they might smell chemical odors but they shouldn’t be worried because they could inhale them before they can harm one’s health.
However, one study has shown this may be inaccurate, and there have been more than a dozen lawsuits filed against Norfolk Southern already for the East Palestine chemical spill.
We the Patriots also criticize the EPAs for allegedly only testing water surfaces, despite the knowledge that sediment is where most accurate data and the most critical contaminants can be found.
The organization is asking the court to intervene to prevent future health issues like cancer caused by contaminated air and water.