The East Palestine Train Derailment: Behind the Scenes with Three Former Government Officials
The train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, has inspired a lot of conversation involving a wide range of topics, including emergency response measures, rail transport of chemicals, and most pertinent to this conversation, communicating chemical risk information to the public. Several of my colleagues here at Bergeson & Campbell have worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in varying capacities and other federal agencies charged with regulating chemicals and communicating safety and risk information. We thought it would be interesting to have a conversation with these former regulators about the challenges federal and state agencies face in responding to major incidents like the train derailment in East Palestine. So this week, I sat down with Jim Aidala and Dennis Deziel, both Senior Government Affairs Advisors at B&C and its consulting affiliate, The Acta Group, and Dr. Richard Engler, Director of Chemistry at B&C and Acta, to speak about some of these issues, given their unique perspective as former government representatives. Among the issues we discuss is what happens when the call comes in reporting on a major incident, how did each plan for the unexpected, what are the key challenges in communicating risk information about chemicals to the public, and their thoughts on restoring trust in what the government reports during major incidents.
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