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Athens City Council meets on the Tuesday after Labor Day, Sept. 6, 2022.

City Council passes resolution urging legislation for train derailments

Athens City Council met on Monday to discuss a resolution urging federal and state legislative branches to enact legislation to protect Athens from the dangers of a train derailment. 

Proposed by Councilman Jeffrey Risner, D-2nd Ward,  the resolution follows the train derailment that took place in East Palestine on Feb. 3. Mayor Steve Patterson said that the city does have a plan in place in case of a train derailment. 

“We're actually doing a full-blown evacuation exercise,” Patterson said. “We're doing basically a mock train derailment within the city of Athens, and going through with all of the players that come into play, so it's going to be all the law enforcement agencies that help with assisting with evacuation.”

The resolution passed and will be sent along to various state and federal legislators and senators.

“Personally, I think it's a good idea to do this,” Risner said. “You look at what happened up in East Palestine, Ohio. You had a train that was 126 cars long with three engines pulling it and it fell off the tracks, 12 cars exploded, emptied their contents and it's just a major ecological disaster up there. I have no idea how long it's gonna take to clean that up.”

Council once again discussed the ordinance to reduce plastic in Athens, and numerous members of the public spoke on the issue during the meeting. Barbara Stout, the owner of Athens Underground, was one of the community members who shared her thoughts during the meeting.

“Every single article I read, said that in fact, (a plastic) bag in all respects, with the exception of litter, has a lower environmental impact than (a paper bag) does when you consider the entire lifecycle of the item,” Stout said. 

The ordinance was amended to include language applying to stores and vendors and will return for first reading at the next regular meeting.


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