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The Political Fallout from the Ohio Toxic Train Derailment Begins

The Political Fallout from the Ohio Toxic Train Derailment Begins

EPA head Michael Regan says: “We’re trusting the science”. However, Regan is now being blasted by Democrats and Senator JD Vance (R-OH) responds, “I think if the EPA administrator wants to stand here and tell people that the tap water is safe by all means, they should be willing to drink it,”

I recently noted that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan came to East Palestine, Ohio nearly two weeks after the toxic train derailment that has devastated the region.

It appears now that, as I predicted, the disaster is so catastrophic that some political fallout is now raining down on Biden officials. Regan’s prolonged absence on the scene of a true climate catastrophe has been noted, and the Biden administration is beginning to be blasted even by those on the left.

His visit came amid daily headline news coverage depicting angry residents and Republican and Democratic criticism of the federal government’s response that had the White House on the defensive.

Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota called directly on Buttigieg to “address the tragedy” and ensure it “never happens again.”

And West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, whose state borders Ohio, on Thursday called the delay in a top-level administration response “unacceptable.”

“While I am glad EPA Administrator Regan will visit the site today, it is unacceptable that it took nearly two weeks for a senior Administration official to show up. I urge President Biden, Administrator Regan, and Transportation Secretary Buttigieg to provide a complete picture of the damage and a comprehensive plan to ensure the community is supported in the weeks, months and years to come, and this sort of accident never happens again,” he said in a statement.

Government officials are desperately assuring everyone the situation is under control. These are some of the more recent results published by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency:

East Palestine Public Drinking Water Testing Results
These preliminary results we have received so far confirm that, as Mayor Conaway has said, there is no indication of risk to East Palestine Public Water customers. Future updates will be posted as information becomes available.

Ohio River Sampling
The latest water sample results of the Ohio River by the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission indicate no butyl acrylate is being detected. In addition, no vinyl chloride has been detected in the Ohio River….

However, evidence from other sources suggest there are serious problems remaining. Senator JD Vance (R-OH) checked out a creek in the impacted area . . . and suggested that if the tap water were safe to drink, perhaps EPA head Regan should be willing to drink it.

“This is disgusting. The fact that we have not cleaned up the train crash, the fact that these chemicals are still seeping in the ground is an insult to the people who live in East Palestine. Do not forget these people, we’ve got to keep applying pressure,” Vance said.

…Vance said the first step is to make sure the safety of the community is taken care of as well as clean-up efforts. He said then they will make sure they are holding those responsible for who caused the derailment.

When asked if the tap water is safe and if he would drink it, Vance said he’d be drinking bottled water for the time being.

“I think if the EPA administrator wants to stand here and tell people that the tap water is safe by all means, they should be willing to drink it,” Vance said.

The UK’s Daily Mail interviewed Nathan and Kelly Izotic, whose property was engulfed in the black cloud generated by the controlled burn of the chemicals in the derailed tank cars. They are still having health effects, for which there are no adequate tests, and their property is a wasteland.

The massive acrid black cloud that spewed from the fiery wreck engulfed Nathan and Kelly Izotic’s property within 24 hours of the February 3 disaster, carried by a westerly wind.

. . . . As walked with them through their woodland as they tested toxicity levels in the brook, chemical lab technician Kelly revealed: ‘We had red and gray squirrels through this property, constantly chitter chattering to each other. It was pretty loud.

‘And now there are none. They’ve gone completely because of the toxicity all around them right here.

‘There’s no small birds either. They were everywhere, but they’ve taken off. That must tell you something.’

. . . . Nathan continued: ‘I woke up about 6am after the night we evacuated and I was on the verge of calling the ER. I was coughing up blood.

‘All I could think of was to strip down and cool myself off and go outside to get some relief. I was hot all over. I was very tired.

‘It was until Thursday or Friday that week until I started to feel some relief. Coming back here now though my lips are starting to get tingly again and I feel a scratch in my throat and I’m getting headaches.’

Kelly added: ‘We were at the doctor yesterday and they said they don’t even have a toxicology test to be able to test us because they still don’t know what they are dealing with.

‘So they can’t even test us – all they can do is treat symptoms. It’s terrifying.’

The Biden administration turned down a request for federal disaster assistance from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) told Ohio’s state government that it was not eligible for disaster assistance to help the community recover from the toxic spill, Dan Tierney, a spokesperson for DeWine, told Fox News Digital on Thursday. Tierney explained that FEMA believed the incident didn’t qualify as a traditional disaster, such as a tornado or hurricane, for which it usually provides assistance.

However, the administration appears to be moving toward designating the area as a “Superfund” site, so federal monies can be directed at remediation activities.

Norfolk Southern agreed to cover all cleanup costs after EPA sent a notice of potential liability, citing its authority to issue a legally binding order under the federal Superfund law — the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act.

This is not the first time EPA has tangled with Norfolk Southern: In 2005,two trains collided in Graniteville, S.C., releasing a poisonous chlorine vapor cloud that killed nine people and led to the evacuation of 5,000 others. In 2010, the company agreed to pay a $4 million fine for the spill.

During his press event Regan said: “We’re trusting the science. We believe that we are looking at the proper [evacuation] radius to ensure we’re protecting public health.”

We just had three years of ‘trusting the science,’ which has led to devastation on a societal scale. Unfortunately, it appears that the administration is going to hide behind narrative science, which will result in devastation for the impacted region that may cascade into effects felt throughout the nation.


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Let’s blame Mayor Pete. He is easily brought to his knees.

Whenever there’s a stink about something in the news, it’s because some politician or charity wants a stink about it in the news.

Hearne’s Law, Vicki Hearne, _Bandit_

This episode reinforces for many the state of American society. The Fed govt and to an extent some State govt has been captured by the credentialed establishment class. These folks used to have a sense of duty to the people, today the organizational culture creates a duty to the organization, then to the political ideology they hold with Citizens as an afterthought.

Rural community, median income $26K, hardscrabble place, voted GoP. Lots of hunting, fishing and gardening to make ends meet. Local manufacturing plant closed and jobs out sourced decades ago. I suspect the community has a high attendance at religious services. The folks here aren’t members of the establishment class, they don’t vote or think the ‘right way’.

IOW these are the sorts of deplorable folks living in flyover country who aren’t ‘worthy’ of attention according to the ideology and worldview of the establishment credentialed class. I can almost hear Kevin Williamson telling us how ‘dead end’ towns like this should be abandoned and their residents dispersed to toil for corporate America in a distant coastal metropolitan area or to join the ranks of public employees in invisible sorts of jobs like picking up the trash predawn; all for their own good of course.

Anyone considering sitting out general elections or refusing to do the work to clean up their own local voter registration roll b/c it ‘won’t work, it’s too hard, won’t make a difference’ or due to your preferred candidate failing to win the nomination is assisting the establishment class to replicate this across the Nation. Don’t say you were not told.

    Your points are mostly good but has a gigantic hole in them.

    If this had happened in inner city Chicago where people most definitely do not share the values of the elites either (don’t believe me look at the gun violence and the amount of sexual violence there) and are just as poor the EPA would have been all over it.

    I think it is alright to say it. It was a partisan decision that the federal government would not help a Republican area and the funds, manpower and machine assistance the governor requested would be denied.

    It isn’t about being against the citizenry, these people love Democrat citizens.

    This is a dramatic escalation of the cold civil war going on right now, not an elite contempt for the lower class.

    Class contempt does exist but this has the appearance of people who hate and detest the other sides voters not the poor.

    To put it another way

    Michael Bloomberg would have done the right thing and he is about as elite as it gets and is also a progressive.

      buck61 in reply to Danny. | February 19, 2023 at 4:05 pm

      Where is Norfolk Southern? Their tracks, their train yet they seem completely uninvolved in helping out the community? They are building no good will back with community, from all the information that has been reported, their main concern was getting the rail line operational as soon as possible.
      All Dewine has talked about is making them pay.

      CommoChief in reply to Danny. | February 19, 2023 at 6:41 pm


      I believe this sentence from my post addresses the issue you raised.

      ‘The folks here aren’t members of the establishment class, the vote or think the right way.’

      Chicago has many members of the establishment class. The residents of Chicago are perceived to vote and think the ‘right way’ by their establishment class and credentialed class peers in the bureaucracy and leadership/establishment class.

      Of course it is a political decision. Not one solely based on mere political party though. Nor was it a truly conscious decision about this event. It’s deeper than that. We don’t have a good mechanism for coordination of these events b/c generally industrial and transportation accidents which cause environmental damage don’t occur in ‘important’ places. The establishment class wants resources extracted and transported from Red areas to fuel, feed, build and maintain ‘important’ areas where they reside. If environment damages occur that’s the price of progress but one they are comfortable with, in part, b/c they no longer pay the price for it. They had to shoehorn this under Super fund Cleanup statutes b/c there isn’t an existing mechanism to coordinate relief actions. It happened in flyover country out of sight and mind for nearly two weeks before any real outcry.

      The establishment/leadership class didn’t respond b/c the damage occurred in an area dominated by the opposite tribe. The real divide of Red /Blue boils down to belief system. Those of us on the Red side still believe in the value of the individual; earned merit, delayed gratification, personal responsibility/accountability and consequences. The Blue side is very much the opposite; participation trophies, immediate gratification, group responsibility, no accountability or consequences.

      The Blue side emphasizes tribal membership and tribal actions. The Red side emphasizes the actions of the individual. It is an open question whether the Blue side will prevail and extinguish individual liberty and individual accountability and replace it with some form of totalitarian oligarchy. IMO, no but only if those of opposed to their ideology work together after sorting our comparatively minor differences in the primaries.

      The Blue side has internal conflicts that they may not be able to continue to paper over. They don’t have enough power to share and their tribal ideology sets up an internal power struggle based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, protected status and so on. Each State has one Gov and two Senators. Who. will replace DiFi? Which ethnic bloc is next for their turn? How about Gov? Can a cis white male follow Newsome or DiFi? When does an African American, a Latino (Latinx) or an Asian get their turn? Does Kamala Harris short Sen tenure count? Does she count as Asian or African American? Both, neither?

        My issue with that is Democrats know the rate of gun crimes, that in spite of severe criminal sanctions for having one it is common to carry illegally, they know about the sexual violence, the anti-Asian racism, and other things.

        The reason they would care about a spill there is they know the people there vote Democrat.

        This is an escalation of the cultural cold war, it isn’t class based.

        We also need to realize which part of the Democrat Party is in favor of this kind of reckless disregard for human life.

        If we had president Bloomberg instead of Biden there would have been immediate real relief sent and if there had been an attempted cover up the people responsible would be fired.

        If the AFL CIO had his way safety would become a much higher priority in trains in order to prevent this from happening again.

        I 100% agree with a vast majority of what you said both in the last post and the first one, I just don’t agree that we could bring class into the situation.

        The things you said about cultural values as in individual vs tribal identities are the definition of politics and are the dividing lines between left and right today, which is why bipartisanship is deceased.

        To put it another way

        Every area that both rejects their values and votes Republican is the enemy to them. It doesn’t matter if it is the richest or poorest neighborhood they would be the enemy as far as the establishment is concerned.

        The fact that we talk about class is because improving people and raising them from poverty as individuals means a lot to us, our caring about it doesn’t mean the Democrats care.

LD Vance Congressman or Senator?

“Haley ran for governor in her own southern state without really leaning into her race”

This actually makes sense to a leftist, to whom ones entire identity is made up of external factors amongst which race comes first. If someone isn’t making their racial heritage the centerpiece of their campaign, they aren’t “leaning into it”.

“‘There are many people in the state who don’t think of her as Indian at all. They think she is just a nice conservative woman with a tan”

Um, yeah. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. Clarence Thomas is not a great Supreme Court Justice because he’s black, he’s a great Supreme Court Justice who happens to be black. Conservatives couldn’t care less what color or race he is, as long as he performs his duties, honors the oath he took and stays faithful to the supreme law of the land.

Same thing with Nikki Haley. Conservatives don’t think of her as Indian, because she isn’t. She’s American of Indian descent. It’s the former that matters, not the latter, and conservatives voted for her because she’s ran as a conservative…race and ethnicity had nothing to do with it.

You know, sort of like the left used to claim they wanted the world to be.

    henrybowman in reply to Sailorcurt. | February 19, 2023 at 4:44 pm

    I’ve always wondered why the appearance of a perfectly well-formed comment like this can end up under entirely the wrong article. I suspect the website is doing this and not the poster, as I’ve only seen it here.

      BierceAmbrose in reply to henrybowman. | February 19, 2023 at 5:13 pm

      I’ve seen it too. I speculate in-session context drop. I can’t exclusively attribute to tech or operator head gap.

      I’ll propose testable hypothesis that it’s part caused by the tendency toward more contentful comments here creating time for either fault to play out into a failure.

      Cut-and-paste monkeys not landing wrong place would fit. No time, thought, or composition to do that.

      The Gentle Grizzly in reply to henrybowman. | February 19, 2023 at 5:36 pm

      “ Follow the money!” “deep state!”

      /I’m in an odd mood….

      I’ve seen it too, and I can assure you that, as far as I know, nothing is wrong on our end and certainly nothing nefarious. I think people are just reading posts and then hit comment when something comes to them without noting which post they currently have open? I’m really not sure, but we aren’t tagging such comments as off-topic unless they are clearly just trolls trying to hijack an unrelated comment thread. This is obviously not that.

        Yep, it’s very possible it was my fault. I tend to have several stories I’m interested in open in different tabs at the same time. When I decide to comment, I have to log in first, which takes me to a different page for that. It’s very possible that after logging in, I clicked on the wrong tab, thereby leaving my comment on the wrong post.

        I’ll be more diligent in the future.

        It was a good comment though, wasn’t it?

When you read here about the squirrels and birds and a person coughing up blood, it makes the public comment about safety look like BS. I bet the “Camp Lejeune” lawyers you see advertise on TV are licking their chops. Vinyl chloride was an issue there as well.

I would also like to see Norfolk Southern pursued for fraud for their $1,000 payments in return for some kind of release.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to jb4. | February 19, 2023 at 5:39 pm

    I think the Lejeune Lawyers may be why Norfolk Southern is doing so little. If they dived in and did more, the lawyers would declare this as a huuuge admission of guilt and could get virtually any jury swayed with the usual capitalist-pig rhetoric.

“Great job you’re doing there, “Brownie”! George Bush 43 and Pudding Brain 46..

“Controlled burn”, Sure, the fire part was…beyond that, not so much. With innumerable chickens, foxes, and fish dying, and people feeling sick with odd symptoms, why anyone would believe the EPA or Norfolk Southern’s push narrative is beyond comprehension, I believe what the residents have been saying in the mushroom cloud aftermath. Any attempt at minimizing this event is despicable.

This never should have happened. Yet it has. East Palestine residents have been nearly left high and dry by those charged with protecting them. So now what?

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Camperfixer. | February 19, 2023 at 5:40 pm

    “ So now what?”

    Congress forms a commission to study this.

      Exactly…which will exonerate those involved in this travesty.

      I believe Americans would donate directly to the town and residents so they can solve their own problem, with enough available funds to sue the pants off Norfolk. Health going forward is an unknown, compensation is justified.

Otto Kringelein | February 19, 2023 at 1:34 pm

. . . there is no indication of risk to East Palestine Public Water customers.

Absence of any indication does not mean an absence of risk. The toxic materials might be present but below the detection level of whatever test they are using. And these toxic materials are such that even the smallest amounts can be devastating over the long term.

The latest water sample results of the Ohio River by the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission indicate no butyl acrylate is being detected. In addition, no vinyl chloride has been detected in the Ohio River….

Did you also test for the combustion byproducts of butyl acrylate & vinyl chloride? Those can be just as deadly toxic as the original chemicals themselves.

    Well said.

    henrybowman in reply to Otto Kringelein. | February 19, 2023 at 4:32 pm

    Yeah, like… PHOSGENE?

    BierceAmbrose in reply to Otto Kringelein. | February 19, 2023 at 5:17 pm

    I, myself, have found no contamination in East Pa polluting people’s precious bodily fluids.

    I’m not there, didn’t look, and couldn’t detect the stuff if I did, but no matter. I see no-think; nooo-theenk.

    Idonttweet in reply to Otto Kringelein. | February 19, 2023 at 5:53 pm

    If local doctors don’t know (haven’t been told) what they’re dealing with, how can we believe the government when they say their tests haven’t revealed a risk to residents? What did they test for and what didn’t they test for?

    My wife’s car quit at a stop sign one day and dropped less than a half-cup of gasoline on the pavement before the fuel pump quit. Before the tow truck driver would load it up on the roll-back wrecker, he was required to call the fire department hazmat team to come out and sprinkle cat litter to clean up the spilled fuel.

    These people drained thousands of pounds of chemicals into burn pits and put a torch to them without knowing what the chemicals were and what the health and environmental consequences would be?

    We’re supposed to believe that?

      henrybowman in reply to Idonttweet. | February 19, 2023 at 6:04 pm

      They WERE the “fire department hazmat team.”
      Once the situation is beyond the capabilities of kitty litter, they’re in the Twilight Zone.

Vance so far has been exceptional

I think something we need to pursue in addition to holding people accountable so this doesn’t happen again is safety.

Regulations are correct to have, they exist because capitalism does sometimes lead to risks in favor of profits because the risks aren’t always worst than the short term profits.

Trains have been getting fewer in number, vastly larger with smaller crews, fewer train station workers (including dramatically reduced tech workers and specialists) and have been carrying increasingly absurdly high loads of everything.

When it is a load of socks heading from Sacramento to D.C. nobody cares.

But when disregard of safety results in chemical spills we all should care a great deal.

In this case the AFL CIO position should be our own. We really need to make safety a high and immediate priority, and stop the trend of safe trains being sent to the scrap heap in order to reduce overhead and consolidate into a single train with fewer employees.

Nobody loses their private property because the government says no further American Chernobyls.

Want a massive train that is in danger of collapse fine, you can’t carry an unsafe amount of chemicals on it.

Not all regulations are bad regulations.

Subotai Bahadur | February 19, 2023 at 4:30 pm

Heresy warning.

1) How much does/did Norfolk Southern and/or its top people contribute to the Democrat Party and Democrats?
2) We live in a country where it is reasonable to conclude that the last two election cycles [and probably all that follow] were less than legitimate. In such a situation, what do those in power consider to be their prime duty; political power or working for those they govern?
3) What does that bode for the future?

Subotai Bahadur

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | February 19, 2023 at 5:46 pm

    In answer to number 1: likely quite a bit. Just like ALL other large companies, regardless of the industry. It us called “paying tribute”.

    You do it, or you get regulatory agencies marching through your facilities looking for reasons to fine you or shut you down. Other agencies will check you for proper levels of protected class people. Et cetera.

    BierceAmbrose in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | February 19, 2023 at 6:42 pm

    Imma agree w/ (you) Danny about half way.

    — Right that this is from risks getting mis-accounted for beforehand, and misallocated when they hit. (I hate to credit him, but Taleb nails this.)

    — I’m skeptical of regulation as a solution in stuff that’s already highly-regulated, and corking up.

    “Bigger trains, better.” is a variation on the same problem that gives us brittle supply chains (and brittle synthetic financial markets, but that’s another rant). Some incentives of scale play out one way for the people at the table, while differently for the folks not there.

    Regulations are designed solutions — what to do if we correctly understand the constituencies, concerns, and calibrations. Not so sure working regulations can be made when “we”, for example, indemnified(*) frozen gene-bubble jab makers by stroke of a pen. Or No Horse De-Wormer For You. Or “Nothin to see here — everybody go CFL.” Or… Crappy-a__ regs that leave us with unsupervised chemical weapon-grade mega-trains traversing residential areas.

    (*) My weak understanding is the potential jab claims were disallowed. *Not* “indemnification as in “We’ll cover any claims.” Unusual use of “indemnify”, if so. I haven’t dug to the original wording on this one yet. Some chattering class folk talk this way.

“EPA head Michael Regan says: “We’re trusting the science”.
Couldn’t he have chosen a phrase with less negative baggage, such as “final solution” or “you got a purdy mouth?”

Pete Buttiegig got his job only to meet the proper LGBTQRSTUVWXYZ quote.

if this had happened in a blue city or state, the entire Deep State would have been mobilized ASAP

Asking from the other side of the Atlantic, would I be correct in assuming this wasn’t an area with many Democrat voters?

A Punk Named Yunk | February 20, 2023 at 6:27 pm

Sorry, my attention span could not handle the longer comments. But when I see a federale (EPA head Michael Regan) saying “We’re trusting the science” red flags go up pronto! DON’T YOUR BELIEVE HIM!!

The only “science” he will follow is making sure not too many white people are employed in the cleanup. Oh, and making sure no POCs are abandoned there; only the white domestic terrorists who voted for Trump in 2020.