Senator J.D. Vance Says Politics Slowed Down Disaster Response

( – Residents around the Ohio City contaminated by a toxic train derailment suspect their conservative politics were to blame for the federal government’s slow response. Their Senator is backing them up.

Republican J.D. Vance – already well-known before attaining public office for his memoir Hillbilly Elegy – said the feds were slow to come to East Palestine because the people there “have the wrong politics.”

A Norfolk-Southern freight train derailed in the town on February 3rd. Fifty cars left the tracks, ten of them carrying toxic chemicals such as vinyl chloride. Clean-up crews decided to do a “controlled burn” of the vinyl chloride. This resulted in a plume of smoke seen for miles that contained toxic gasses such as phosgene.

While local officials were telling residents the area would be safe to return to, social media was flooded with videos of dead flocks of birds in parking lots and dead fish floating atop rainbow-slicked rivers and streams.

President Joe Biden has not yet visited the disaster area, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg did not show up until twenty days after the disaster.

Senator Vance is saying out loud what many conservatives believe. He said federal leadership and the media treat the rural working class in places like East Palestine as if they were “out of style.” Getting even more specific, he said locals have “the wrong politics” and are seen by the media and political elite as “a little too white.”

But Vance also praised the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and locals for doing a good job, but he called on the federal EPA to work harder.

Vance asked what happens to the piles of contaminated dirt that are accumulating in East Palestine if it rains. The work done to dig up and contain the contaminated soil will be undone if it can’t be quickly moved to a safe disposal site.

But the Senator also had sharp words for his fellow Republicans who, he said, need to back tighter regulation of the rail industry. 

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