EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) — The issues surrounding East Palestine’s train derailment were passed to one of the nation’s most famous environmental activists Friday evening.
Erin Brockovich spoke to 2,500 people and 100 reporters who filled the auditorium and two gymnasiums at the high school.
Her message to East Palestine: This is your fight — own it.
Before her talk, Erin Brockovich mingled with people in the audience. When she took the stage in the East Palestine Auditorium, she wanted to make one thing clear.
“My name is Erin Brockovich. I’m not Julia Roberts,” she said.
From the outset, she told the people what she said they needed to hear, even though it may scare them.
“Unfortunately, this is not a quick fix. This is going to be a long game,” Brockovich said.
She said they need to hang together as a community.
“You have the ability to become — and you will become — your own critical thinker. You will vet information, you will ask questions, you will demand answers. You will listen to that gut and that instinct that will keep you connected as a community,” Brockovich said. “Don’t let what’s happened here divide you.”
At one point, she spoke to the mothers of East Palestine on how they need to band together.
“You start getting 50 and 100,000 pissed off moms together — I’m telling you right now: Things change,” Brockovich said.
As a show of support, mothers from Flint, Michigan, were introduced to the crowd. She said that even though the water is OK today, it may not be tomorrow.
“These chemicals take time to move in the water. You’re going to need groundwater monitoring. People on well water: You really need to be on alert. They’re going to need to implement soil vapor intrusion modeling. Believe us. It’s coming,” she said.
She reminded people to journal and to document everything. Brockovich also said they should want to know the “worst case scenario” — because if they don’t know what that is, they can’t make plans, they can’t be prepared and they can’t protect themselves