February 19, 2023

OH Abroad: Help East Palestine!




We are deeply concerned about the people of East Palestine, Ohio, as well as the immediate and long-term ramifications of the Norfolk Southern train derailment, which happened on Feb. 3rd. Roughly 50 cars carrying toxic chemicals such as vinyl chloride derailed and turned into a massive fire leading to 5,000 residents being ordered to evacuate. After a “controlled release” of more chemicals, residents were told they could go back to their homes, but many still feel (and rightfully so!) that it is unsafe. “We basically nuked a town with chemicals so we could get a railroad open,” said Sil Caggiano, a hazardous materials specialist. Residents have reported thousands of dead fish and chickens, some found miles outside of town. According to the CDC, long-term exposure to contaminated air or water from vinyl chloride can cause an increased risk of liver, brain, and lung cancers, lymphoma, and leukemia. Other dangerous chemicals are still being discovered in the wreckage.

In 2018, the Trump administration, backed by rail lobbyists and Senate Republicans — rolled back part of that rule aimed at making better braking systems widespread on the nation’s rails. A move that many are saying directly contributed to not only the derailment in Ohio but in other parts of the country. He must be worried, too, since he hasn’t said a word about what happened but is planning a trip to East Palestine next week. Wall Street says Norfolk Southern profits won’t suffer from the derailment, and Railroad Workers United is saying this is nothing new. Railroad industry execs have driven the bottom line into the ground for a hundred years.

But, as Mr. Roger’s mom used to say, “Look for the helpers.” The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) has called on Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to reinstate railway safety regulations from the Obama administration.

Senator Sherrod Brown has already visited East Palestine and sent letters to the Environmental Protection Agency, National Transportation Safety Board, and Centers for Disease Control calling for action.

To contact Sherrod Brown, click here.


If you or your family want air or water testing at your home, call the residential re-entry request hotline: (330) 849-3919.

There are a lot of takeaways from this tragedy, but chief among them is VOTING MATTERS from the top to the very bottom of your ballot. It is easy to see voting from abroad as a hassle and unimportant, but your vote helps place (and keep!) people in office who care about the environment, jobs, rights, and safety. Do your part now and request your ballots for 2023! Every year overseas Ohio voters need to (re-)register and request their ballots, and you can do both through votefromabroad.org

Deep Dive into a River of Deregulation - Coverage of the East Palestine Disaster



FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Deploys Additional Federal Resources to East Palestine, Ohio

What is vinyl chloride? Here are some of the hazardous materials on the train that derailed in Ohio

Featherbedding = a company term for having two engineers in the cab in case one had a heart attack, e.g., It’s not a problem for the past decade. Railroad companies have been at this for over 50 years! Now they’re pushing ‘precision scheduling’, the new term for not having to pay crews to run a safe train. 1962 report, TIME Magazine.

Here’s What Happens When Two Crew Members Are Operating 141 Freight Cars

Norfolk Southern enjoyed quarterly and annual gains in all three of its revenue segments

NewsNation reporter arrested while covering Ohio governor news conference

Ohio catastrophe is ‘wake-up call’ to dangers of deadly train derailments

Ohio Environmental Council - East Palestine Train Derailment Updates


The Ohio League of Women Voters is hosting an online training to go over the new laws and what you need to know to be able to vote and help others vote too!  The webinar takes place on Feb. 20, 12 PM. ET Register HERE.

Ohio Women's Democratic Caucus hosts a Conversation with the Powerhouse Democratic Women Leaders: Ohio House Minority Leader Allison Russo, Ohio Democratic Party Chair Liz Walters, and Ohio Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio. Feb. 27, 7 PM. ET Register for the Zoom link.



Do NOT wait to request your ballots for 2023! We can all vote in city and country elections, no matter if/when we plan to return. Every year overseas Ohio voters need to (re-)register and request their ballots. You can do this NOW! 

Go to https://www.votefromabroad.org/, register, request in one easy form, and check that you want your ballots delivered via email. You will receive your ballots (if selected) 46 days before the election via email. 

Keep in mind that Ohio is one of the states allowing voters abroad to participate in local and special elections. Here at the Democrats Abroad Ohio Team, we're here to help you if you have questions about these elections.

SENATE BILL 1 HEARING - Senate Education Committee
Tuesday, February 21, 2023, 3pm - Details and action items HERE.

Submit a comment to EPA Administrator Regan: Soot pollution is too dangerous to take lightly. Finalize stronger standards! Sign the petition and make your voice heard!

Join our Facebook Group for Ohioans Abroad! It’s a great way to keep up with the latest Ohio news and our events and interact with Ohioans Abroad.


Have other questions or want to get in touch? Please email us at [email protected].

In solidarity,
The DA Ohio Team