Biden Under Pressure Over Ohio Toxic Disaster

Thursday, February 16, 2023 | Tag Cloud Tags: , , ,

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

EAST PALESTINE (Worthy News) – U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration faces another headache dossier as anxious residents in the small Ohio state town of East Palestine seek answers after a train with toxic chemicals derailed some two weeks ago.

Large plumes of black smoke hovered over the area, and residents said even pets and fish had died since that fateful night on February 3 when they heard the horrifying sound of metal screeching to a halt.

A train with 50 rail cars, 10 carrying vinyl chloride, had derailed in East Palestine. The derailment caused hazardous chemicals to spill onto the ground and sent smoke into the air.

In the aftermath, residents suffered. Take 63-year-old James Figley, who lives just blocks from the derailment site. “The whole town’s in an uproar,” he told media.

The graphic designer recalled that he was sitting on his sofa when he heard the train coming to a halt. “There were a series of explosions, continuing, and the smell was getting to be horrendous,” Figley explained.

“If you ever burn plastic in your backyard and [get] that black smoke? That was it,” he said. “It was black, just black. You could tell it was a chemical smell. Burning your eyes. It could get really bad if you were downwind.” Thousands of dead fish have appeared in the creeks in the town, he and other residents noted.

With public pressure mounting, a “controlled release” of chemicals was conducted in the days after the derailment because of the risk of a significant explosion, officials said.


Residents were evacuated before the controlled release was performed. But soon, questions were asked about the perceived slow response to the disaster by the Biden administration, already thrown off guard by recent unidentified flying objects over American air space.

The Congressman representing East Palestine condemned U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg after he partly blamed previous President Donald J. Trump for the derailment.

Buttigieg, who initially avoided publicly discussing the disaster, said his agency was “constrained” by the Trump administration’s actions.

He said the Department of Transportation in 2018 withdrew a proposed rule that would require trains carrying some dangerous chemicals to use electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes.

At the time, the Department of Transportation reportedly said the technology’s benefits weren’t conclusive.

“We’re constrained by law on some areas of rail regulation (like the braking rule withdrawn by the Trump administration in 2018 because of a law passed by Congress in 2015). But we are using the powers we do have to keep people safe,” Buttigieg claimed on social media.


Congressman Bill Johnson, the Republican representing the town and Ohio, fired back, saying he focuses on the concerns of East Palestine residents rather than playing the political “blame game.”

On Wednesday, Johnson invited Buttigieg to a town hall in East Palestine to discuss the situation. “@SecretaryPete, hope to see you tonight at the town hall in #EastPalestine. I’ll save a seat for you. It’s past time you hear the concerns of residents affected by the train derailment,” Johnson said on the social network site Twitter.

He and residents appear frustrated by official claims that their town remains safe. Yet officials of the Norfolk Southern railway company, whose train derailed, didn’t show up at Wednesday’s town hall meeting.

The company said it had become “increasingly concerned about the growing physical threat” to its employees because of the likelihood of “outside parties” participating.

That did little to ease the pain of East Palestine residents Nathan Izotic and his wife Kelly, who said they are experiencing the chemical’s impacts first-hand.

“We are seeing them locally and inside of our bodies. What we’re experiencing- local fish in our creeks have died….oily sheens and coloration in our water….[the] constant smell of burning plastics and chemicals in the air…issues with our dog…vomiting, acting lethargic. It’s scary stuff here.”

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