The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered Norfolk Southern to pause all shipments of contaminated waste from the site of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
According to a report from Bloomberg, the EPA issued the order in an effort to ensure proper disposal of the toxic waste.
Debra Shore, the regional administrator for the EPA’s Region 5 office, announced the decision.
“Moving forward, waste disposal plans, including disposal location and transportation routes for contaminated waste, will be subject to federal EPA review and approval,” she said.
“EPA will ensure that all waste is disposed of in a safe and lawful manner at EPA-certified facilities to prevent further release of hazardous substances and impacts to communities,” Shore added.
These hazardous substances were found to have polluted the water in East Palestine, with Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) sharing a video of himself disturbing a creek bed, causing toxic chemicals to come out in the water.
Visited a local creek in East Palestine today. These waterways are still very polluted. It’s time for Norfolk Southern to finish the cleanup. Check this video out: pic.twitter.com/4lsHBmrMJj
— J.D. Vance (@JDVance1) February 16, 2023
Until Friday, Norfolk Southern — the rail company responsible for the train derailment — “had been solely responsible for the disposal of waste,” according to Shore.
This news comes after state officials in Michigan and Texas complained about not being notified when Norfolk Southern sent truckloads of contaminated soil and water from East Palestine into their jurisdictions for disposal.
“The Ohio governor’s office said Saturday night that of the twenty truckloads (approximately 280 tons) of hazardous solid waste hauled away, 15 truckloads of contaminated soil was disposed of at a Michigan hazardous waste treatment and disposal facility while five truckloads had been returned to East Palestine,” according to AP News.
The governor’s office went on to note that liquid waste from the disaster area would have been disposed of at a licensed hazardous waste treatment and disposal facility in Texas, but that facility will not accept any more liquid waste.
“Currently, about 102,000 gallons of liquid waste and 4,500 cubic yards of solid waste remain in storage on site in East Palestine, not including the five truckloads returned to the village,” the Ohio governor’s office said. “Additional solid and liquid wastes are being generated as the cleanup progresses.”
The Biden administration has faced heavy criticism for their failed response to the train derailment. While Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg eventually showed up to the disaster site roughly three weeks after the incident, President Joe Biden has announced that he never intends to visit East Palestine.
Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump has visited East Palestine, bringing supplies and support for the citizens.
Tens of thousands of pounds of goods, food, water being delivered to the people of East Palestine, Ohio right now before Trump’s visit.
Trump paid for all of it.
Number of goods delivered from the Biden Administration: 0. pic.twitter.com/QQADqZl9Uy
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) February 22, 2023
Many have argued that the visit from Trump, who announced his candidacy for president in 2024 late last year, actually forced Buttigieg to make the trip — as the transportation secretary announced his visit soon after Trump did.
“Trump is only going to Ohio for a photo op”
The EPA is now holding Norfolk Southern accountable
Buttigieg and Biden are finally talking about it
FEMA is now sending help
Trump’s announcement completely changed the gov’t’s response
And the victims finally have hope
— DC_Draino (@DC_Draino) February 22, 2023