The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is ordering states to stop blocking contaminated waste from the Ohio train derailment.
EAST PALESTINE, Ohio – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday ordered states to stop blocking contaminated waste from the fiery train derailed in Ohio from being sent to hazardous waste facilities across the country.
A handful of politicians and states aspired to this delivery unit from East Palestine, including Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, who said last week that he had halted the flow of derailment waste to his state.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan said there is no reason for states to block shipments of the kind of waste that certified facilities routinely handle every day.
“This is inadmissible and unacceptable,” he said.
The EPA ordered the Norfolk Southern railroad to cover cleaning costs as a result of the derailment on February 3, which caused the collapse of 38 railway cars. No one was hurt, but concerns about a possible explosion prompted state and local officials to approve the release and incineration of toxic vinyl chloride from five tank cars and forced evacuation of half the village.
Ohio this week sued against Norfolk Southern to make sure it pays for cleanup costs and environmental and economic damage, as well as groundwater and soil monitoring in the years to come.
Norfolk Southern said it is committed to cleaning up the site and helping the community recover.
Many residents remain concerned about why they might have been affected and how it will affect the area in the years to come. Government officials say tests conducted over the past month have not found dangerous levels of chemicals in the air or water in the area.
The cleanup should be completed in about three months, Regan said Friday.
So far, crews have removed nearly 5,500 tons of contaminated soil and 7 million gallons of sewage from the area, according to the EPA.
Three weeks ago, the agency briefly halted removal of contaminated waste from the area after concerns were raised about where it was sent at sites in Michigan and Texas. Hazardous waste landfills in Ohio and Indiana have also received shipments in recent weeks.