Letter: Train wrecks and environmental disasters

Dear Editor,

With all the attention being paid to the chemical disaster from the train wreck in East Palestine, Ohio, there should be some reference made to a couple of other environmental disasters.

On July 6, 2013, the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (MMA) freight train carrying Bakken Formation crude oil derailed in the town of Le Megantic, Quebec. The resulting explosion killed 47 people, destroyed 30 buildings outright, and all but three of the 39 remaining building had to be demolished due to oil contamination.

Attention should also be focused on all the communities victimized by the petro-chemical industry in the lower Mississippi valley. This area even has a name – Cancer Alley. It stretches for 85 miles from Baton Rouge to New Orleans and has over 200 petrochemical plants and refineries. The cancer rate is 46 per million compared to a rate of 30 per million for the general population. Many of the communities are Afro-American.

In 2021 the United Nations Human Rights Commission made this statement, “This form of environmental racism poses serious and disproportionate threats to the enjoyment of several human rights of its largely African American residents, including the right to equality and non-discrimination, the right to life, the right to health, the right to an adequate standard of living and cultural rights.”


Ed Nizalowski

Newark Valley, N.Y.

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