Ohio Governor Says Making Town Safe Will Take Time

(RepublicanNews.org) – After 50 cars derailed from a freight train in East Palestine, Ohio, spewing toxic chemicals, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said it will take time to make the town and surrounding area safe again.

Visiting the crash site on March 1st, DeWine told reporters that everything happening during the clean-up wasn’t necessarily visible to the media. He said that thousands of truckloads have left the scene carrying contaminated material, and “you can’t get all the stuff out of here overnight.”

50 Norfolk-Southern rail cars went off the tracks in East Palestine on February 3rd. Ten of these cars were carrying unstable and toxic chemicals such as vinyl chloride. In a decision that left observers puzzled and angry, clean-up crews decided to perform a “controlled burn” of the vinyl chloride.

This resulted in a plume of toxic gas that looked like a mushroom cloud visible from miles away. The cloud contained gasses such as phosgene, an extremely potent neurotoxin used as a weapon in World War I.

While state and federal environmental officials — according to some, suspiciously quickly — reassured residents, people living in the area flooded social media with photos and videos of dead fish floating down chemically contaminated rivers. Flocks of birds were also found dead in local parking lots.

DeWine said the cleanup was a “very elaborate process” and that crews were performing it methodically but quickly. Work continues around the clock, he said.

Local media reported that heavy rain on February 27th pushed more water into contaminated areas, making extra work for crews who had to contain and remove any contaminated water.

The disaster in Ohio has prompted quick legislative efforts. Both of Ohio’s U.S. senators put forward bills on March 1st that would increase regulations on railways as well as beef up fines for violations.

Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown and Republican Senator J.D. Vance are co-sponsoring the Railway Safety Act of 2023. The bill would stiffen safety requirements for trains carrying hazardous materials and require rail companies to have better emergency response and notification plans in place.

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