July 2024
CHEJ's "All In" - Spotlight of the Month

Residents of East Palestine, Ohio, affected by the February 2023 Norfolk Southern train derailment, had until July 1, 2024, to opt out of a proposed $600 million class action settlement. The derailment involved a train carrying hazardous chemicals, which led to a controlled burn and significant exposure to toxic substances for the local community. This proposed settlement is intended to compensate those who lived, worked, or owned property within a 20-mile radius of the derailment site between February 3, 2023, and April 26, 2024. 

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, compensation will vary based on proximity to the derailment site and the severity of the impact. Households within two miles of the site could receive up to $70,000 for property damage and $10,000 for personal injury, while those further away will receive significantly less. Businesses can also claim losses, and there are provisions for extraordinary injuries. Some residents have expressed concerns that the compensation might not be sufficient to cover all damages and long-term health impacts. The final approval hearing for the settlement is scheduled for September 25, 2024, with the deadline to submit claims set for August 22, 2024.

New EPA Museum

The new EPA Museum in Washington D.C., situated in the William Jefferson Clinton Building, provides an interactive exploration of the history of environmental regulation and conservation in the United States.

One notable exhibit focuses on Lois Gibbs and the Love Canal disaster, showcasing her crucial role in advocating for the cleanup of the toxic waste site in Niagara Falls, New York. This exhibit delves into Gibbs’ grassroots activism, which led to the evacuation and relocation of hundreds of families and eventually the establishment of the Superfund program. Her story highlights the impact of community activism on environmental policy and serves as a powerful reminder of the need for ongoing vigilance in protecting public health and the environment.

Toxic Tuesday

1,2-dichloroethane (1,2-D) – also called ethylene dichloride – is a clear, oily liquid with a sweet smell that is man-made and not found in nature. It is used in the production of plastic and vinyl products like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes, upholstery, automobile parts, and housewares. It is also added to the leaded gasoline… [Read more]

CHEJ has previously written about the importance of considering multiple chemical exposures when assessing the toxicity of exposure to toxic chemicals. In addition, it is also important to consider the duration of exposure. How long was a person exposed? What was the concentration of the substance… [Read more]

Training Calls

Judith LeBlanc, director of the Native Organizers Alliance (NOA), shares her insights, victories, and advice as an organizer working with Native peoples and for the environmental protection of Native land. 

She details the holistic approach her organizing has adopted to integrate the cultural, spiritual, and communal elements of the nation’s indigenous peoples in her and her organization’s work on environmental justice. She also shares her experiences protesting the Keystone Pipeline at Standing Rock, fighting for water rights on the Missouri River, and the cross-country trek of the Red Road to D.C…. [Watch now]

Backyard Talk Blogs

By Sharon Franklin. On March 27, 2024, the American Heart Association released new research stating that people who live in areas with social and environmental adversities may have up to twice the increased risk for developing[Read more]

By Leila Waid. The beginning of summer has already brought immense heat waves throughout the world. Countries in Southeast Asia, such as India and Thailand, already had extreme heat waves in April—with UNICEF[Read more]

By Gregory Kolen II. Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19th, marks the day in 1865 when enslaved African Americans in Texas were informed of their emancipation, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.[Read more]

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Last month, we commemorated Juneteenth, reflecting on the historic struggle for freedom and equality for African Americans. This reminds us not only of past triumphs but also of the ongoing battles that many communities of color face today, particularly in the realm of environmental justice. Despite significant progress, environmental racism remains a critical issue, with marginalized communities disproportionately affected by pollution, hazardous waste, and lack of access to clean air and water. The fight for environmental justice is a continuation of the pursuit of equality and civil rights, ensuring that all communities have the right to a healthy and safe environment.

We are reminded that the journey towards true freedom and equity is far from over. Your support is crucial in addressing these environmental injustices. By contributing, you help us advocate for fair policies, support community-driven solutions, and provide resources to those most affected by environmental disparities. Together, we can fight for a future where every community, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, enjoys the fundamental right to a clean and healthy environment. Please consider making a donation today to continue this vital work.

Thank you, your support is greatly appreciated!