News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2007


Is race reason city allows hazardous transportation in Northwest Decatur?

To The Daily: I am writing to bring to your attention what could have been an environmental mishap June 15 in Northwest Decatur. A railroad car apparently jumped the tracks at the 12th Avenue crossing. From what I have been able to ascertain, there was also a diesel fuel spillage, and I observed several hazmat units dispatched to the scene as a precautionary measure. Diesel fuel contains a mixture of gases such as benzene, formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds that pollute the air with harmful chemicals. Diesel fuel is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” according to the Eleventh Report on Carcinogens published by the National Toxicology Program. Long-term exposure may cause lung cancer and lung damage.

Seemingly no media attention was given to this potentially hazardous incident, and residents of the neighborhood were not placed on alert.

Sadly, hazardous materials are transported daily by rail and big trucks hauling gas cylinders banging against each other in the Northwest Decatur area, especially on 12th Avenue.

I beg the question: Since Northwest Decatur is predominantly black, do the city fathers care?

Henry Brown

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