Perhaps the optics of sending massive aid to Turkish earthquake victims and paying for Ukrainian pensions while Americans in Ohio suffer from chemical fallout wasn’t as good as originally thought
In my last update on the chemical release disaster in East Palestine, Ohio, I noted that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declined to send aid to the state. Basically, Gov. Mike DeWine was told that it wasn’t the agency’s normal purview, which usually is related to assisting after natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes.
Since that report, the agency has rethought its initial stance.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is deploying federal assistance to Ohio now more than two weeks after the toxic Norfolk Southern train derailment that threatened the village of East Palestine.
Gov. Mike DeWine said the move came following further discussions with the agency.
In a joint statement on Friday, the governor and FEMA Regional Administrator Thomas Sivak said FEMA and Ohio had been in “constant contact” regarding emergency operations in the community.
“U.S. EPA and Ohio EPA have been working together since day one,” they said. “Tomorrow, FEMA will supplement federal efforts by deploying a Senior Response Official along with a Regional Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) to support ongoing operations, including incident coordination and ongoing assessments of potential long term recovery needs.”
No aid for the people they’re poisoning in Ohio…but they can send $100 million to Turkey and Syria and $100 billion to Ukraine… https://t.co/P2XthMKc09
— Woz (@accordingtowoz) February 19, 2023
Meanwhile, concerns are growing about the spread of contamination from the East Palestine chemical cloud unleashed two weeks ago. The Northern Kentucky Water District closed its Ohio River intake as a precautionary measure.
In the release, NKWD said that it is in close contact with ORSANCO and its partners to track the chemical butyl acrylate that was detected at low levels in the Ohio River far upstream of Greater Cincinnati water supply intakes.
While samples upstream in the Ohio River have been undetectable for chemicals related to the train derailment or detected at very low levels, NKWD, in concert with GCWW, will shut down its Ohio River intakes as a precautionary measure.
NKWD has plans in place to ensure the drinking water remains safe.
In addition to the continuous monitoring conducted by ORSANCO and GCWW, NKWD will be collecting additional samples over the next few days for analysis.
NKWD’s state-of-the art treatment processes − powdered activated carbon in addition to granular activated carbon (GAC) − will also serve as a protective treatment barrier.
Clearly, Ukraine is more of a priority for Biden…as he heads to Poland to commemorate the first anniversary of the start of the Ukraine-Russia War. However, President Donald Trump is heading to East Palestine to support the community on Wednesday, and he will likely highlight his America First agenda.
Trump’s confirmation for his visit comes after the White House announced on Friday that there are no plans for Biden to visit the village, where a toxic train derailment occurred on Feb. 3. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre noted that Biden’s immediate schedule is currently packed with his trip to Poland to mark the beginning of the war in Ukraine one year ago.
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) inspectors are continuing their investigation and have identified an overheated wheel bearing on one of the cars as a possible cause of the disaster.
The NTSB has identified the initial rail car to blame for the incident, and said in a statement on Tuesday that a video from a residence showed the car’s wheel bearing was “in the final stage of overheat failure moments before the derailment.” Investigators said that they collected the wheel set from the railcar as well as the wheel bearing to be examined by engineers from NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington, D.C.
The NTSB said that the tank cars were “currently” being decontaminated, and that inspectors will return once that process is complete to conduct a “thorough” investigation of the cars. They are still investigating the exact cause of the derailment using documentation, event recorder data and interviews, and they expect to publish a preliminary report in two weeks.
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