The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered Norfolk Southern, the company that’s the central focus of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, to take charge of all the cleanup of toxic chemicals in the area. And if they dare to try and cut corners they will be forced to pay triple. That only seems fair. The next question is, can we actually trust the EPA to enforce this cleanup?
“Local and state authorities previously evacuated all residents within one mile of the February 3 derailment and started a controlled burn of industrial chemicals on the vehicle to decrease the risk of an explosion, which could have sent shrapnel throughout the small town. Vinyl chloride, a known human carcinogen used to manufacture PVC, was emitted from five train cars in the form of massive plumes of dark smoke visible throughout eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania,” the Daily Wire reported.
The report continued, “The EPA said on Tuesday that Norfolk Southern must clean contaminated soil and water, reimburse the EPA for cleaning services that will be offered to residents and businesses, and attend public meetings to update residents on the cleanup process. The agency also threatened to ‘immediately step in, conduct the necessary work, and then seek to compel Norfolk Southern to pay triple the cost’ if the company fails to adequately complete enumerated cleanup actions.”
“The Norfolk Southern train derailment has upended the lives of East Palestine families, and EPA’s order will ensure the company is held accountable for jeopardizing the health and safety of this community,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan went on to say in a statement. “Let me be clear: Norfolk Southern will pay for cleaning up the mess they created and for the trauma they’ve inflicted on this community.”
Officials who work for the EPA had previously worked to secure a voluntary commitment from the company to cover all the expenses of the cleanup. Along with the release of vinyl chloride, Norfolk Southern informed the EPA that a number of other chemicals such as ethylene glycol monobutyl ether and ethylhexyl acrylate, were also present at the site of the train derailment. The EPA has since put out a full list of substances that were present at the site, but only after residents were informed they could return back to their homes.
“Regan traveled to East Palestine last week and faced pressure from local media, as well as Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH), who challenged him to drink the water his agency says is potable. The EPA indeed said that ‘test results from the village’s municipal well sampling showed no water quality concerns,’ while Governor Mike DeWine (R-OH) announced that tests conducted by the Ohio EPA revealed ‘no detection of contaminants in raw water from the five wells that feed into East Palestine’s municipal water system,'” the report said.
The Daily Wire sent out a team of journalists to East Palestine to check things out. They reported a lingering smell hanging in the air, an oily looking sheen in local creeks and rivers, not to mention symptoms like sore throats, headaches, and others just from spending an extended period of time in the community.
“The statement from the EPA marks the most aggressive response to the chemical fallout from the Biden administration, which previously faced accusations of devoting minimal attention to the incident. The White House said last week that it would respond to a request for federal support by sending medical personnel and toxicologists from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” the report revealed.
“I’m deeply grateful to the emergency responders, including EPA personnel, who’ve been on the ground since day one and ensured there was no loss of life as a result of this disaster,” Regan then said later in the statement. “As we transition from emergency response, EPA will continue to coordinate closely with our local, state, and federal partners through a whole-of-government approach to support the East Palestine community during the remediation phase. To the people of East Palestine, EPA stands with you now and for as long as it may take.”
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