A climate group linked to virtually every major establishment media company in the world is openly trying to shift the blame for the train disaster in East Palestine, Ohio, off the railroad and government and onto the petroleum industry in order to advance a radical green agenda.
The political left wasted no time in politicizing the crisis in East Palestine, trying to turn the train derailment into an attack on the petroleum industry, rather than the railroad — and the lackluster response from Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration.
A stark example of this would be the organization Covering Climate Now — whose “partner list” includes virtually every establishment media outlet in the world — sharing a blog piece trying to connect the Ohio train disaster to America’s “demand for fossil fuels in the form of plastics”:
Great explainer thread from @emorwee about the disaster in East Palestine and the toxicity of the chemicals used to make plastics. As she notes, "it’s so important for the rest of news media to be connecting this disaster to petroleum-based plastics." https://t.co/Q4nVylpqGo
— Covering Climate Now (@CoveringClimate) February 22, 2023
Covering Climate Now’s published “partner list” on its website includes many major U.S. and international media organizations, such as ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, MSNBC, PBS NewsHour, Univision, the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor, the Miami Herald, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Seattle Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Toronto Star, the Times of India, Time Magazine, BuzzFeed, Columbia Journalism Review, CQ & Roll Call, The Guardian, Gizmodo, the Harvard Business Review, the Intercept, Al Jazeera, Mother Jones, The Nation, the New Republic, Vanity Fair, Vox, Variety magazine, Vice Media, Teen Vogue, the Texas Tribune, the Times of Israel, the Irish Times, among many more. Even The Weather Channel is considered an official partner of this Covering Climate Now organization.
“The United States has an unrivaled capacity to produce petrochemicals that are a vital part of every person’s life. Anything that undermines this vital capacity is a national security threat, and there are very few movements that are more destructive to U.S. national security than the radical environmental, ‘green’ movement,” a former U.S. national security official told Breitbart News. “If they can use an incident like this to spread lies about an industry they hate, they’ve shown they’ll do it, whether or not it undermines our national security.”
So, given this immensely powerful conglomerate of media outlets in the United States and worldwide that this organization lists as formal partners, when this organization says something like the above one could easily surmise that its takes on major news events like what happened in East Palestine are being heard by these significant influencers — which raises questions as to why the group is criticizing the petroleum industry for failures of the railroads in the lead-up to the derailment and of the federal government in the aftermath.
A former senior White House official from former President Donald Trump’s administration told Breitbart News that the left seems to be running the playbook of former President Barack Obama’s one-time chief of staff Rahm Emanuel to never let a crisis go to waste.
“Obama’s former chief of staff and Biden’s current ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emmanuel, famously said, ’You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before,’” the Trump-era White House official told Breitbart News. “That’s what the Left is trying to do here — deflect blame from their president’s and transportation secretary’s incompetent response, and attack the petrochemical industry that they despise. It’s disgusting but it’s what they do.”
The lack of any serious criticism from Covering Climate Now of U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg or the Biden administration more generally including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and FEMA for their slow responses to the disaster are similarly interesting.
Instead, this group is using what many say is a false dichotomy to push its radical green agenda, suggesting the only way the East Palestine disaster could be prevented would be if the U.S. didn’t need fossil fuels.
However, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which investigates major rail accidents, revealed that a malfunction of an axle, a rod that connects two train wheels, is what caused the derailment — not the mere fact that the train was carrying toxic chemicals.
Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) has proposed bipartisan legislation to rein in the train industry, something special interest groups connected to the railroads are trying to fight back against. The proposal, from Vance and Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Fetterman (D-PA), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), would seek to focus on some of the core issues that caused the derailment, not on the chemicals or other materials trains are carrying. Vance has gotten tons of attention in his response to the East Palestine crisis, including with key videos going viral and when he hosted Trump when the former president visited the ravaged town a couple weeks ago.
“Senator Vance’s video went viral for good reason — it’s disgusting what has happened to the environment in East Palestine,” a former White House official who advised Trump on environmental issues told Breitbart News. “Whatever it is — fuel runoff from the train or something else — Norfolk Southern needs to be held accountable. But one thing is obvious to anyone who actually knows what they’re talking about and doesn’t have an agenda: that’s not vinyl chloride in the video; it’s not reacting the way vinyl chloride would. On top of that, there are reports of fish dying in nearby waterways, but vinyl chloride is practically non-toxic to fish.”
Many chemicals produced from fossil fuels — which are used to create everyday household items — are not always especially toxic, several scientists have noted.
“Vinyl chloride, despite everything you see in the press, is actually not especially toxic,” Dr. Josh Bloom, who holds a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Virginia and is director of chemical and pharmaceutical science for the American Council on Science and Health, told the Wall Street Journal.
“It is comparable to alcohol and chloroform, both of which are also carcinogens. And when tested in lab rats it is far less toxic than everyday drugs like aspirin, caffeine and Tylenol,” Bloom added.
“The cancer scare,” Bloom continued, “has also been exaggerated, as “vinyl chloride is an occupational carcinogen — dangerous to people who work with it and are exposed for years. The chances of anyone developing liver cancer from a single exposure or two are very low.”
Even David Friedberg, a billionaire founder of the agriculture company The Climate Corporation, acknowledged during a February 17 episode of the All-In Podcast that “The solution is dilution.”
“Once you speak to scientists and people that work in this industry, you get a sense that this is actually, unfortunately, a more frequent occurrence than we realize, and it’s pretty well understood how to deal with it, and it was dealt with in a way that has historical precedent,” he said.
Friedberg also conceded that “you can probably sensationalize a lot of things” when it comes to the specific dangers of vinyl chloride in the aftermath of the East Palestine derailment, but admitted that “the dangerous part should very quickly dilute and not have a big toxic effect.”
“The total market for vinyl chloride is about $10 billion a year, it’s one of the top 20 petroleum-based products in the world,” he added.
“The transportation of these very dangerous carcinogenic chemicals is a key part of what makes the economy work, it drives a lot of industry, it gives us all access to products and things that matter in our lives,” Friedberg said.
You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.
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