The head of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated on Tuesday that he wants to push the railroad to quickly clean up the mess because he doesn’t want any stigmas associated with the Ohio community where a train crashed and released poisonous chemicals three weeks ago.
The organization on Tuesday opened an office where people may register for cleaning services for their homes and places of business as well as air monitoring within their residences. Also, locals can visit the office to ask officials other queries about the cleanup work.
US EPA Administrator Michael Regan said that this “Welcome Center” is to ensure residents feel comfortable living in East Palestine following the catastrophic derailment on February 3rd.
“We want to go that extra mile so that people feel comfortable living in their community. The people of East Palestine will not have to figure out what comes next on their own,” Regan said.
According to US EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore, this center is a location to learn about services available to the community.
“We’re setting this (center) up as a location where members of the greater East Palestine community can drop in to meet with staff from the EPA and other agencies. It’s a location to learn about services available to support the community,” Shore said.
According to Regan, the organization is continuing to monitor the air in the area of East Palestine and attempting to safeguard the environment while the cleaning takes place. According to tests, there are no indications that the derailment has contaminated the air or the village’s water supply, according to state and federal officials.
“We don’t want a black eye on this community,” Regan said.
On Monday, after worries about the oversight of where the toxic waste was being moved were raised, crews started moving it away from the derailment once more.
The EPA ordered Norfolk Southern to pay for the costs of cleaning up after the disaster on February 3, where 50 train carriages, 10 of which were carrying hazardous materials, derailed due to a technical problem with a rail car axle, according to federal authorities. There was vinyl chloride in five of the vehicles. Hundreds of residents evacuated as a result of the controlled release of poisonous gasses that Norfolk Southern carried out on February 6th to stop an explosion.
Officials told East Palestine residents on February 8th that they could safely go home, despite the reports of hundreds of dead fish in the Ohio river near East Palestine and residents complaining of headaches and illness since the derailment.
A source told The Ohio Star on Monday that forestry workers have found that animals are dying at alarming rates following the derailment.
Numerous locals are still concerned about what they might have been exposed to and how it might affect the neighborhood in the future. Some residents say medical professionals diagnosed them with bronchitis, lung issues, and rashes that they suspect a link to the chemical exposure from the train derailment.
According to East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway, answers are what the residents of East Palestine need the most.
“I know there is definitely questions about the rashes and the illnesses so we’re working with the federal agency, the EPA, the department of Health to get those answers for our community. I know it is still ongoing but I think there’s a lot of answered questions. I know our residents are frustrated but we’re working on getting them the answers as fast as we can,” Conaway said.
The center, located at 25 N. Market St. opens every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Michael Regan” by Michael Regan.