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Articles by John McCracken

John McCracken is a Green Bay, Wisconsin journalist. Raised in East Tennessee, he has a keen interest in how climate change is impacting water, agriculture and culture. His work has appeared in The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, Sierra Magazine, Great Lakes Now, Belt Magazine, and more. He can be reached via email at or on Twitter @jmcjmc451.

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In the wake of the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment, Governor Mike DeWine called on Congress to look into why the rural village didn’t know ahead of time they had volatile chemicals coming through town. 

“We should know when we have trains carrying hazardous materials through the state of Ohio,” DeWine said at a press conference. 

This information is out there, but it’s probably not what the governor had in mind. With the derailment of the Norfolk Southern train receiving international attention, more railroad communities are now asking what is traveling through their backyard. 

According to representatives from the United States Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA, all trains that carry hazardous materials are subject to “hazard communication” requirements. But this doesn’t mean a rail company tells the residents what is going by their town every day. 

The troika of hazard communications, according to the agency, contains the f... Read more

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