President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit East Palestine, Ohio, this month, the site of a train derailment a year ago. Biden was criticized at the time for not traveling to see the effects of the accident.
There’s good news for Biden, then, according to a resident and a local environmental expert who has tested water and soil near the derailment site: Biden can still see the effects of the accident, because they haven’t been fully cleaned up despite official claims to the contrary.
NewsNation spoke to local resident Rick Tsai, who has become so frustrated by the government response to the incident that he’s running for Congress.
“They’re either inept, or there’s something nefarious going on,” Tsai told NewsNation’s Rich McHugh.
“I can teach a 7-year-old to do this with a stick, and the EPA can’t find them with millions of dollars,” he added, referring to the fact that by merely shifting dirt in the riverbed, chemical contamination in local streams became obvious.
McHugh said that residents he’d spoken with continued to see “obvious” contamination a year after toxic chemicals were spilled in the train accident, and that the Environmental Protection Agency should stop taking a “victory lap” over its efforts to control the spill.
McHugh showed a montage of his disturbing stream beds in various locations in East Palestine over a period of months, each time revealing chemicals apparently hidden in the soil beneath the water.
In September, he reported, the EPA ordered additional testing and cleanup efforts by Norfolk Southern, the freight railroad company whose train derailed on Feb. 3, 2023, causing the spill. Over four months later, the company has not provided any results to the agency.
Meanwhile, the state’s EPA denied there was a continuing problem.
“We don’t have any science that suggests there is contamination that would pose a human health risk,” Anne Vogel of the Ohio EPA told NewsNation. “We don’t have any sign of contamination in the air, in the water, in the soil.”
“They’re lying to you,” Tsai said of Vogel’s statement.
Independent environment organization Three Rivers Waterkeeper said their testing showed the presence of 15 separate dangerous carcinogens, however, that they would recommend humans avoid completely.
“These are non-natural, carcinogenic chemicals,” Heather Hulton Vantassel, the group’s executive director, told NewsNation. “We’re testing for the same things as the EPA and we’re finding really high levels.”
“It’s safe to say the EPA has not done enough testing yet to deem this community safe, based on the exposure that we found in the sediment,” she added.
McHugh and Tsai dug into another stream bed just before the 1-year anniversary of the spill and found what appeared to be continued chemical contamination, as shown in the video below, despite the fact that the EPA has said it found “no sign” of a problem in the water.
In January, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the president would visit the town “when it’s most helpful to the community,” so Fox News asked the mayor of East Palestine, Trent Conaway, when he thought that would be.
Conaway told Fox that in “my personal opinion the best time for him to come would be February of 2025 when he is on his book tour.”
“The president is always welcome to our town,” he said, but “that being said, I don’t know what he would do here now.”
Former President Donald Trump, Fox noted, visited the town on Feb. 22, 2023, along with Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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