Ohio train derailment: Biden orders door-to-door in East Palestine
The derailment of a train that included 11 wagons of toxic materials had consequences for the environment. The accident caused, among other damage, the death of thousands of fish in the East Palestine sector. (File photo)
President Joe Biden has ordered United States federal agencies to go door-to-door in East Palestine, Ohio to meet with families affected by the derailment of a freight train carrying toxic materials that turned into a heated political controversy.
At the behest of Mr. Biden, teams from various US public agencies, such as those for disease control and prevention and the environment, will visit homes in the municipality to ask how residents are doing, see what they need and put them in touch with the appropriate resources.
The authorities emptied the tanks and burned their contents to avoid an explosion, which caused a gigantic column of smoke. Citizens worried about their health. (File photo)
The US president did not specify the number of homes to be checked but asked employees to visit as many as possible by Monday. The US leader said that at this time he has no plans to travel there personally.
This request comes as Republicans in the House of Representatives have opened an investigation into the February 3 derailment.
Rep. James Comer, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has become the latest lawmaker to engage in what has become a political proxy war as each party clashes after the derailment and the release of chemicals that led to the evacuation of the small Ohio community.
Despite the U.S. Department of Transportation's [DOT] responsibility for ensuring safe and reliable transportation in the United States, you shrugged off the disaster for more than a week, the Kentucky Republican charged in a statement. letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
“The American people deserve answers as to the cause of the derailment. The DOT must provide an explanation for its leadership's apathy in the face of this emergency.
—James Comer, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee
A preliminary report released Thursday by the US National Transportation Safety Board said the crew of the Norfolk Southern freight train did not receive many warnings before dozens wagons leave the tracks. Furthermore, there is no indication that the crew members made a mistake.
Republicans cast the incident as a moral failing on the part of the Biden administration, while Democrats point to the rollbacks made by former President Donald Trump during his tenure, which have weakened railway and environmental regulations.
The oversight committee letter seeks documents and communications regarding when DOT leaders learned of the derailment, demands to know whether they received advice on the public response, and asks for details about recent changes to the derailment. agency train maintenance and procedures.
The day before the letter was published, Mr. Buttigieg made his first site visit to the ;accident.
The train operator, Norfolk Southern, assures that the crew “acted within the rules of the company”. (File photo)
Norfolk Southern said the National Transportation Safety Board report showed that the train's heat detectors were working as expected and the train was working as expected. crew acted within company rules.
Nonetheless, the company recognized that it should learn as much as possible from this event as well as develop practices and invest in technology that could help prevent an incident like this in the future.
Eleven of the cars on the train that derailed on the outskirts of East Palestine, near Pennsylvania, were carrying hazardous materials. Residents were evacuated as fears grew over a potential explosion.
Officials, seeking to avoid an uncontrolled explosion, released and burned toxic vinyl chloride from five wagons, sending flames and black smoke into the sky. People then wondered about the possible effects on their health, even though authorities said they were doing their best to protect people.
This incident is a environmental and public health emergency that now threatens Americans out of state, Mr. Comer and nearly two dozen Republicans argued in their letter to Mr. Buttigieg.