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Residents voice frustrations to environmental activist Erin Brockovich at town hall in East Palestine

Brockovich says the mismanagement in East Palestine is unlike anything she has seen before.

COLUMBIANA, Ohio — Activist Erin Brockovich was back in East Palestine Thursday to participate in another town hall  regarding the Ohio train derailment.

Brockovich hosted an East Palestine Justice Town Hall Meeting at the Main Street Theater in Columbiana along with several area attorneys.

Attendees at the town hall were informed "via an educational seminar on how they can take legal action against Norfolk Southern for the train derailment toxic chemical spill," according to event organizers.

Prior to the town hall, Brockovich had lunch with residents before addressing the media alongside those residents.

“I spent all morning with some of the residents and I am very upset," said Brockovich." They are obviously very upset. I just could not believe the amount of information coming in that they want to share… It seems like nobody is listening to them. They are so afraid. They get so many mixed messages. They are getting a total run around.” 

Brockovich, who has spent over 30 years working on environmental projects worldwide, says the mismanagement in East Palestine is unlike anything she has seen before. 

“It was very overwhelming to have such a close perspective today of what they went through. I am still absorbing their fear and turmoil. I have been in a lot of environmental situations and I have never seen anything in my life mismanaged like this. Ever. You give an all-clear, but you don't really have any data to give an all-clear.”

Resident Scott McAleer expressed his frustration regarding the ongoing situation. “We just want answers. Just answers. All the citizens of East Palestine need answers and we are not getting them."

During the press conference, residents voiced their concerns that their children and grandkids are getting sick with rashes, but are returning to school. 

"We are not puppets. We are people," said resident Giovanni Irizarry. "We live here. We have families. We have businesses. I have multiple rental properties, and people that I care about. It is unacceptable." 

Irizarry also mentioned that he had to fly his mother to California because she couldn't breathe anymore in East Palestine. 

"That isn't something I need to do. It messes up my whole 10-year plan that I have going on as a 31-year-old person, self-employed and halfway retired. That messes up a lot of things for people." 

The full press conference can be watched below:

The visit came less than a week after Brockovich held a town hall in East Palestine on Friday, Feb. 24. Following her visit, Brockovich wrote on Twitter that she would be heading back to East Palestine after spending time with her family at home. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: The video at the top of the story previously aired on 3News on Feb. 24, 2023.

During her previous visit last week, Brockivch spoke to residents and gave a presentation on the history of train derailments. 

"There's a moment here for this community and for all of us, and it's a teaching moment," Brockovich said during the town hall. "We cannot afford agenc[ies] or compan[ies] to continue to kick the can down the line." 

Since the beginning of the Ohio train derailment situation, Brockovich has been actively tweeting and has previously called for the Biden administration to "STEP UP NOW." 


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