Biden Visiting East Palestine a Year After Derailment

Biden Visiting East Palestine a Year After Derailment

( – In February 2023, a train carrying hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, unleashing various chemicals into the ground and air. Some of the substances were intentionally burned to try and stave off an explosion, and residents were evacuated to minimize the damage. Nearly a year after the tragedy, President Joe Biden (D) is visiting the affected area.

On January 31, the Associated Press reported that the president accepted an invitation from East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway (R) to visit the still-recovering community. Although the town leader made it clear he didn’t support the president, he reached out for the good of his constituents.

At the time, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden would visit in February — a promise that is about to be fulfilled. According to a White House advisory reported by the New York Post, the president will arrive in the town on February 16 to talk about how his administration will help East Palestine going forward and “hold Norfolk Southern accountable” for the incident.

In the aftermath of the spill, many residents have reported health concerns because at least one of the chemicals involved was a known human carcinogen — vinyl chloride. The National Cancer Institute reported that the chemical can increase the risk of various cancers, including liver, brain, lung, leukemia, and lymphoma, when inhaled. In September 2023, Biden issued an executive order detailing his administration’s response to the derailment. The president gave orders to FEMA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Health and Human Services to support those affected in East Palestine.

The EPA recently released an update regarding the emergency response to the derailment and next steps. Over 176,000 tons of solid waste have been shipped out of the area in addition to nearly 49 million gallons of wastewater. The EPA said sampling work was about 43% complete. Lawmakers are reportedly still working to pass legislation to firm up rail safety standards. So far, Congress has failed to act.

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