U.S. Senator JD Vance (R-OH) pushed the Biden administration and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday to transport dangerous waste to authorized facilities after seeing a pile of toxic waste in East Palestine, Ohio.
Vance visited the waste site after giving testimony at a March 9th U.S Senate railroad safety hearing regarding how the waste was still in East Palestine weeks after a railway catastrophe caused dangerous chemicals to contaminate the community.
According to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine‘s Office, there is currently a pile of approximately 24,400 tons of excavated soil waiting for removal from East Palestine, versus only 2,980 tons that have been removed.
“Why is this toxic mound of dirt still here in the first place, thousands and thousands of pounds of it? The reason is because the Biden Administration and the EPA is making it harder to get this stuff into licensed facilities where it can be properly disposed of,” Vance said.
The EPA had previously stopped shipments of toxic material heading to facilities in Michigan and Texas, greatly to the dismay of certain government representatives and environmentalists who claim that no one fully informed them. Shipments resumed to new facilities in Ohio and Indiana after the EPA implemented additional oversight measures.
Vance said that the waste needs to be removed quickly and taken to the proper facilities, or it will continue to poison the community of East Palestine.
“I understand some states don’t want to take it, but ultimately you have to get this stuff out of East Palestine, and get it in properly licensed facilities or its going to continue to poison this community,” Vance said.
According to Vance, recovery cannot start in East Palestine until the Biden administration helps to relocate the waste to licensed disposal facilities.
“There is no recovery for East Palestine until you get this stuff out of their community. It’s time for the Biden administration to show some leadership and help us get this stuff out of East Palestine,” Vance said.
On February 3rd, 50 train carriages, 10 of which were carrying hazardous materials, derailed as a result of 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 due to 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.
There have also been a growing number of reports of health concerns from residents following the derailment. Last month, some residents said medical professionals diagnosed them with bronchitis, lung issues, and rashes that doctors and nurses suspect link to the chemical exposure.
– – –
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 “JD Vance” by JD Vance. Background Photo “East Palestine, Ohio” by 636Buster. CC BY-SA 4.0.