On July 17, a warning signal, reminding me of Paul Revere, resounded from the CSX train cars derailed in Whitemarsh Township.
On July 17, a warning signal, reminding me of Paul Revere, resounded from the CSX train cars derailed in Whitemarsh Township, on the train line owned by Norfolk Southern. The train had just passed through Fort Washington State Park, contiguous to a tributary of the Wissahickon Creek leading to the Schuylkill and then the Delaware Rivers. One derailed car holding carcinogenic chemicals, though not leaking, was left perched "right above the quarry." In February, on tracks also belonging to Norfolk Southern, a derailment caused a toxic spill to seep into land and water in Ohio, along the Pennsylvania-Ohio border.
No profits should accrue in transporting toxic substances on potentially hazardous tracks. There should be an abundance of caution to check the safety of tracks after each of the township’s frequent weather events, plausibly leading to weather-related damage.
Oversight personnel from the Department of Environmental Protection, the county hazmat team and even a revived Civilian Conservation Corps should check before resuming transport and after establishing compliance with needed local and DEP ordinances and mandates from federal or state law. Manufacturers should not legally load substances toxic to water and air on train lines unprotected by such laws.
As people work to make the earth a good place to live, trains carry tremendous potential to help or harm. Everyone needs to take time to unite in non-partisan, non-violent, and life-giving actions to promote outcomes that protect Pennsylvania’s constitutional resolve to preserve its citizens’ rights to natural resources, clean air and water.
Like The Little Engine that Could, we have to get these gifts to the boys and girls born and yet to be born "on the other side of our mountain." We must stop transporting dangerous substances on uninspected, unprotected, potentially hazardous tracks and train bridges, endangering everyone in the watershed and beyond.