“We caution against hysteria and fear mongering”

“It’s been said that fear-based media has become a staple of popular culture.” [Psychology Today, June 2011]
 
One component of NHD’s social media and traditional media strategies has been to raise additional challenges to the downtown location based on its “research.” One example of this was NHD’s claim that the MVHS downtown site is “in a Red Zone, also known as the blast zone,” because of its proximity to CSX railroad tracks. “We caution against hysteria and fear mongering,” NHD wrote in 2017, “but . . . the danger is real . . . “
 
A close-to-the-railroad-tracks “Red Zone” or “Blast Zone” is not a government or industry reality; don’t confuse it with emergency planning guidelines that uses a half-mile evacuation standard for certain incidents. Red zone/blast zone, to connote the danger from oil trains that derail, catch fire and explode, was the creation of a Canadian-American environmentalist group, “Stand.earth,” formerly known as ForestEthics.
 
As described by CTV Television on August 19, 2014, the group created an online tool so users could “identify an 800-metre ‘red zone’ evacuation area in case of an oil train derailment, as well as a 1.6-kilometre ‘yellow zone’ evacuation area in the case of an oil train fire.” Stand.earth’s creation of this concept stems from its primary goal, “challenging the fossil fuel industry . . . [our organization’s] campaigns work to defeat existing and proposed transportation infrastructure like oil trains . . . “
 
As today’s O-D article points out, “advocates” have adopted the “red zone” term. But remember what NHD wisely wrote last year:
 
“We caution against hysteria and fear mongering…”

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