After the train wreck and subsequent environmental calamity in East Palestine, Ohio, many people wondered why the Biden administration didn’t do more to help. Not even FEMA was dispatched to East Palestine. No one heard from the Secretary of Transport, Pete Buttigieg, about the incident until nine days had passed. When he decided to mention the train derailment, he acted like what happened was an everyday occurrence. The President also seemed unconcerned; mainstream media and environmentalists seem to not care.
It was later discovered that FEMA refused aid and did not consider the matter a national disaster. On Friday night, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine tweeted that the federal government had changed its mind and would send resources to East Palestine on Saturday to help clean up after a train carrying deadly chemicals derailed the day before.
Ohio and FEMA have been in regular communication regarding emergency operations in East Palestine. On Friday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and FEMA Regional Administrator Thomas Sivak released a joint statement praising the cooperation between the two agencies. FEMA will send a Regional Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) and a Senior Response Official to assist with event coordination, and continuous assessments of potential long-term recovery need beginning on Saturday.
Only the day before this announcement, FEMA had declined to help. Ohio is not eligible for help at this time, according to FEMA. The DeWine administration had communicated daily with FEMA to explore the need for federal support, according to a statement released by DeWine’s office on Thursday.
After a hazardous spill and controlled burn-off that caused an environmental disaster, FEMA Ohio informed the state government on Thursday that Palestine was not qualified for disaster assistance to aid in the clean-up operation.
If Friday was so pivotal, then what occurred then? The fact that Donald Trump will visit East Palestine next week to speak with residents raises questions about a possible connection between the two events.
Even though FEMA declared it would begin delivering aid around two hours after Fox News originally claimed that Trump would visit the affected town, the area was still in dire straits.
Coincidence? Perhaps or maybe the Democrats are finally “manning up” because of Trump.
The lack of coordination between federal, state, and municipal authorities in the aftermath of the incident is cause for concern. It is even more concerning that the local government decided to burn off the vinyl chloride that some people believed “chem-nuked” the town and its adjacent areas.
To what extent the federal government and the media were sluggish to respond to the chemical calamity is unclear.
The threat of air pollution is merely one of several. The response has likely poisoned the water with byproducts from the combustion of many industrial chemicals, as evidenced by the 3,500 dead fish. Counties and municipalities downstream of East Palestine are keeping an eye on their water quality and providing their own guarantees that it is safe to drink.
Large amounts of vinyl chloride and other toxins were released into the environment after the horrific 50-car Norfolk Southern train disaster on February 3. This prompted the evacuation of the small Ohio hamlet. Authorities have already convinced residents around the accident site that it is safe to return home.
Residents are raising the alarm about what they are seeing and have already filed a federal lawsuit over the incident.
Now that FEA is finally involved, it will remain to be seen how effectively they can clean up the mess. The fact is that they should have been on the scene, to begin with. The Biden administration definitely dithered on the matter, and one could only wonder if FEMA involvement is due to the upcoming 2024 elections, where Trump is currently dominating the Republican polls.