Trump leads, Biden follows on East Palestine disaster; Cincinnati restricts water supply

Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, February 19, 2023

Some lead. Some don’t.

In announcing he would visit East Palestine, Ohio, former President Donald Trump also called on FEMA to respond with assistance to the residents devastated by the derailment on Feb. 3 of a 150-car train which spewed poisonous chemicals onto the ground and, some say, possibly into the local water supply.

Under a Democrat administration, environmental responsibility for a a 150-car train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio on Feb. 3 is not a high priority. / Video Image

Soon after Trump’s announcement, FEMA indeed said that it would send federal aid.

The White House said there are currently no plans for Joe Biden to visit East Palestine.

“Biden and FEMA said they would not be sending federal aid to East Palestine. As soon as I announced that I’m going, he announced a team will go. Hopefully, he will also be there. This is good news because we got them to ‘move,’ ” Trump wrote in a Truth Social post.

“The people of East Palestine need help. I’ll see you on Wednesday,” Trump added.

According to the estimates from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, at least 3,500 fish, mostly small ones such as minnows and darters, have been found dead along more than 7 miles of streams near the derailment site.

Since the derailment, residents have complained about headaches and irritated eyes and finding their cars and lawns covered in soot.

Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said he and Pennsylvania Democrat Gov. Josh Shapiro signed off on a controlled burn of spilled chemicals in East Palestine.

“We then made the decision to go ahead with the second option which was to control release,” DeWine said.

Meanwhile, the City of Cincinnati said on Friday that the Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) “will shut off the Ohio River intake ahead of the anticipated arrival of the last detectable chemical concentration in the river. While the water intake is shut off, GCWW will temporarily switch to water reserves.”

Cincinnati City Manager Sheryl Long said: “Our City Administration is prepared for these types of events. I understand the concern, and I’m confident that temporarily shutting off the Ohio River intake is the best move. There’s zero risk that our water reserves contain contaminants from the train derailment site, and tapping these reserves will give us all peace of mind. I want to thank GCWW, who are truly the best of the best, and state that I have full faith in their decision-making and their ability to keep us safe.”

As for the water supply in East Palestine, EPA administrator Michael Regan said on Friday that he would allow his own children to drink and bathe in public water near the site of the derailment and chemical spill, so long as it had been tested and deemed safe by officials.

“As a father, I trust the science, I trust the methodology that this state is using, and as a parent, I would,” Regan said.

Ohio Republican Sen. JD Vance had challenged Regan to drink the water himself, saying: “If the EPA Administrator wants to stand here and tell people that the tap water is safe … they should be willing to drink it.”

Vance posted a video to Twitter in which he conducted his own water “testing,” dragging a stick through a creek bed and stirring up an oily-looking rainbow sheen on the water’s surface.

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