U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan made it clear that the federal government would not let Norfolk Southern neglect its duties in East Palestine, Ohio.
A train derailment earlier this month led to the burning of toxic chemicals and the release of fuel and toxins into local waterways and soil.
Regan told Norfolk Southern that it would need to clean up the entire spill in East Palestine. If the company fails to do that, the EPA will do it for them - and charge the company 3 times the cost of the work.
The EPA has been on the ground since the earliest hours after the spill. The Biden Administration has been criticized for not sending in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to handle the situation, but FEMA authorities have clarified that their agency is not the best to handle this type of situation, deferring to the EPA.
According to Regan, the EPA has been working with residents on an individual basis to ensure homes are safe and helping them clean up any toxicity that might exist.
According to reports, the EPA’s involvement will not preclude individual or class action lawsuits against the rail company.
President Joe Biden called Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to let him know that anything the state needed, the federal government would supply. DeWine has requested assistance from the Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC, among other federal agencies. Both state and federal officials confirm that assistance is on the ground or being sent per the governor's requests.
In response to the derailment, Ohio lawmakers are reportedly considering stricter safety regulations on trains in the state.
The effects of the derailment in East Palestine are expected to last for years, even with clean-up efforts.
The Kentucky Daily