Joe Biden to visit eastern Palestine ‘at some point’ as locals demand answers on toxic trains
President Joe Biden said on Thursday he would visit eastern Palestine, Ohio, “at some point” as residents continue to press their health and safety fears after the fiery derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals last month.
After attending a Senate Democrat luncheon at the U.S. Capitol, Biden told reporters he had been in touch with officials responding to the crisis in the city near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border.
“I spoke with all the officials in Ohio, Democrats and Republicans, on an ongoing basis, like in Pennsylvania,” Biden said. “I explained a bit in there what I think are the answers, and we put them together. And we will implement the legislation enormously here.
“And I will be there at some point,” he added.
Last week, Biden told reporters he had no plans to visit eastern Palestine “at this time.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre gave no further details during Thursday’s press briefing.
The two senators from Ohio, Sherrod Brown (D) and JD Vance (R), together with the senses. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), introduced legislation on Wednesday that includes new safety rules for railway companies to help prevent future train disasters.
“Through this legislation, Congress has a real opportunity to ensure that what happened in eastern Palestine will never happen again,” Vance said. “We owe every American the peace of mind that their community is protected from a disaster like this.”
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg became the most senior administration official to visit eastern Palestine last week. He urged “any national political figure who has decided to become involved in the plight of eastern Palestine” to work with his department to prevent future mishaps.
Republicans, along with Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.), seized on the train derailment to criticize Buttigieg for visiting 20 days after the sinking.
Former President Donald Trump also visited the site of the derailment last week, alongside Vance, as he campaigns for the White House in 2024.
In an interview with ABC’s David Muir last month, Biden defended his administration’s handling of the disaster.
“Within two hours of that derailment, the EPA was there. Within two hours. Every major United States government agency that had anything to do with rail and/or cleanup was there, and are there,” he said.
Meanwhile, residents of eastern Palestine said on Thursday they were still facing health concerns during a town hall meeting with officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and a single representative from Norfolk Southern.
The Norfolk Southern train that derailed and caught fire on February 3 was carrying toxic and flammable materials, including hundreds of thousands of pounds of vinyl chloride, a component of plastics linked to cancer.
Alan Shaw, CEO of Norfolk Southern, is scheduled to appear before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee next week.
The Huffington Gt
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