Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia criticized the Biden administration for taking so long to send a senior official to the site where a train derailed earlier this month in East Palestine, Ohio.
Some of train cars were transporting hazardous material.
In the aftermath of the wreck, vinyl chloride from multiple rail cars was purposely released and burned, according to the Associated Press.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Michael Regan visited the site on Thursday.
“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. The damage done to East Palestine and the surrounding region is awful and it’s past time for those responsible to step up to the plate,” Manchin said in his Thursday statement.
Norfolk Southern President and CEO Alan Shaw has pledged that the company is committed to helping the community recover.
“When I visited East Palestine last week, you told me how the train derailment has upended your lives and how concerned you are about the safety of your air, water, and land. Many of you have also reached out to Norfolk Southern to share your fears, your anger, and your frustration. I hear you. We hear you,” he said in a letter, according to a press release.
“Our work is underway. Crews are cleaning the site thoroughly, responsibly, and safely. Our Family Assistance Center is helping community members meet immediate needs. Together with local health officials, we have implemented a comprehensive testing program to ensure the safety of East Palestine’s water, air, and soil. And we have established a $1 million community support fund as a down payment on our commitment to help rebuild,” he wrote.
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