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Biden to finally visit East Palestine, Ohio this week — more than a year after toxic spill

President
Joe
Biden

will
visit
East
Palestine,
Ohio

this
Friday,
finally
making
good
on
his
promise
to
tour
the
site
of
the
Norfolk
Southern
train
derailment
that
unleashed
a
brew
of
toxic
chemicals
into
the
environment
more
than
a
year
ago.

News
of
the
Democrat’s
visit
came
after
he
endured
fierce
criticism
from
Republicans
for
failing
to
visit
the
beleaguered
community
since
the
Feb.
3,
2023
environmental
disaster.

“The
President
will
travel
to East Palestine,
Ohio
to
discuss
how
the
Administration
is
continuing
to
work
with
state
and
local
officials
to
hold
Norfolk
Southern
accountable
and
support
the
community
as
it
moves
forward,”
the
White
House
said
in
an
advisory.

Dozens
of
cars
on
a
Norfolk
Southern freight
train
transporting
toxic
chemicals
derailed
last
year,
causing
authorities
to
made
the
controversial
decision
to
conduct
a
control
burn,
which
set
off
a
plume
of
black
clouds
over
the
community.

The
carcinogen
is
believed
to
have
released
highly
toxic dioxins
after
being
burned
as
well
over
100,000
gallons
of
vinyl
chloride
were
leaked
in
the
aftermath
of
the
derailment.

The
synthetic
polymer
of
plastic
can
take
a
toll
on
one’s
nervous
system
and
cause
long-term
health
ailments
such
as
liver
damage
or
cancer.

White
House
officials
have
defended
President
Biden’s
record
amid
criticism
of
the
delayed
visit.

REUTERS

At
least

four
other
toxic
chemicals
,
including
butyl
acrylate,
ethylhexyl
acrylate,
ethylene
glycol
monobutyl
ether,
and
isobutylene
also
leaked
during
the
derailment,
according
to
the
Environmental
Protection
Agency.

Republican
East
Palestine
Mayor
Trent
Conaway,
invited
Biden
to
visit
the
town,
which
is
roughly
an
hour’s
drive
west
of
Pittsburgh.

A
White
House
official

confirmed
last
month
that
Biden
intended
to
travel

to
East
Palestine
this
February,
but
didn’t
publicly
set
a
date
in
stone.

Shortly
after
the
derailment,
former
President
Donald
Trump
stopped
by
the
town
of
just
under
5,000
people,

ordered
McDonald’s
for


first
responders

and
community
members,
and
disbursed
“Trump
water.”

Democrats
such
as
Transportation
Secretary
Pete
Buttigieg
have

tried
to
flip
the
blame

on
Trump,
pointing
to
rail
deregulations
during
his
White
House
tenure.

Drone
footage
captured
the
controversial
controlled
burn.

AP

“Well,
I
haven’t
had
the
occasion
to
go
to
East
Palestine,”
Biden
told
reporters
in
September
when
asked.
“There’s
a
lot
going
on
here,
and
I
just
haven’t
been
able
to
break.”


I
was
thinking
whether
I’d
go
to
East
Palestine
this
week,
but
I
was
reminded
I’ve
got
to
go
literally
around
the
world,”
Biden
added,
referring
to
his
Group
of
20
trip
to
New
Dehli
India
that
featured
a
stop
in
Vietnam.

Toxic
chemicals
seen
in
East
Palestine.

Getty
Images
Norfolk
Southern
freight
train
cars
were
seen
after
the
derailment.

AP

Residents
in
East
Palestine
have
reported
an
array
of
health
scares
and
concerns
for
the
long-term
outlook
following
the
exposure
to
the
hazardous
chemicals.

“The
President
will
discuss
his
commitment
to
ensuring
the
people
of East Palestine are
not
defined
by
this
single
event,
and
that
his
administration
is
delivering
on
the
needs
of
families,
businesses,
and
affected
residents,”
the
White
House
added.

EPA
contractors
collect
samples
from
the
derailment
site
in
March
2023.

Getty
Images

In
the
time
since
the
spill,
multiple
lawmakers
have
crafted
legislation
to
tighten
rail
safety
standards,
including
via
the
bipartisan
Railway
Safety
Act.

However,
such

legislation
has
remained
in
limbo
.

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