President Joe Biden has taken a lot of heat for not paying more attention to East Palestine, Ohio, where a train derailment and subsequent explosion has led to a major environmental disaster.
While Biden was in Ukraine and Poland, he spoke with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on the phone, but local residents and even the Mayor of the town have remained critical of the President for not bothering to visit.
Here’s what the Mayor had to say:
“That was the biggest slap in the face. That tells you right now he doesn’t care about us.”
Despite not visiting East Palestine, the Biden administration released this statement about the disaster on February 17:
The Biden-Harris Administration has mobilized a robust, multi-agency effort to support the people of East Palestine, Ohio.
Within hours of the Norfolk Southern train derailment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deployed a team to East Palestine to support state and local emergency and environmental response efforts.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) also arrived on scene to investigate what led to the derailment. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been closely coordinating with the emergency operations center, Ohio Emergency Management Agency, and Federal partners.
As President Biden told Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro soon after the derailment, the Federal Government stands ready to provide any additional federal assistance the states may need.
Today, in response to Governor DeWine’s and the Ohio congressional delegation’s request on February 16 for additional federal public health support, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced they are deploying a team of medical personnel and toxicologists to conduct public health testing and assessments.
The team will support Federal, state, and local officials already on the ground to evaluate individuals who were exposed or potentially exposed to chemicals and help ensure timely communications to the public.
Securing Norfolk Southern Commitment to Cover Clean Up Costs. On February 10, the EPA issued a letter to Norfolk Southern requiring the railroad to document the release of hazardous contaminants. The letter also outlines cleanup actions at the site and EPA’s authority under the law to hold them accountable.
Holding Norfolk Southern Accountable for Clean Up. The EPA is coordinating the oversight of Norfolk Southern’s soil remediation of the derailment site. The remediation includes testing of the soils within
and immediately surrounding the impacted areas. Results of the testing are evaluated by EPA and OH EPA to determine a strategy to ensure the site is cleaned up to meet federal and state regulations.
Helping Ensure Water is Safe to Drink. EPA is assisting state and local agencies to test surface and ground water to ensure drinking water is safe. This includes surface water testing to monitor downstream impacts on the Ohio River.
Read the entire statement from the Biden administration here
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