(TheLibertyRevolution.com)- After the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio earlier this month, officials, along with Norfolk Southern, authorized a controlled burn of the hazardous chemicals aboard the train to avoid a possible catastrophic explosion.
However, in the subsequent weeks, some elected officials and area residents questioned whether the controlled burn was the right decision.
Last week, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro blasted Norfolk Southern for the move, accusing the company of failing to explore other options.
In a letter to Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw, Shapiro said the rail company should have considered all possible “courses of action,” including keeping the rail line closed longer to achieve a safer outcome for residents and the environment, according to the Washington Post.
Residents of East Palestine fear the release of toxic chemicals into the air and water. But Ohio Governor Mike DeWine defended the controlled burn at the time, saying it was necessary to prevent a “major explosion” that could have sent shrapnel and debris flying as much as a mile.
The decision to release and burn the toxic chemicals came after Norfolk Southern reported that the tankers carrying vinyl chloride experienced a sudden change in temperature.
A colorless gas, vinyl chloride is used to make plastic. It is considered a carcinogen and is linked to liver cancer, as well as lung cancer, brain cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma.
According to CBS News, officials feared that the controlled burn could lead to the release of hydrogen chloride and phosgene, which turns into a poisonous gas at 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Hydrogen chloride can cause irritation to the eyes, skin, nose, and throat, according to the CDC.
The EPA has been screening area homes for vinyl chloride and hydrogen chloride but has so far not detected the presence of either, the Washington Post reported.
During a press conference last Friday, Governor DeWine maintained that the decision to do the controlled release and burn was better than risking “doing nothing and waiting.”