If you've kept up with the news this week, you know about the horrific conditions facing people in East Palestine, Ohio after a train derailed and released toxic chemicals into the atmosphere and the groundwater. What you might not know is that this ecological disaster doesn't meet the standard to receive resources and support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The lack of an adequate response from FEMA (and, by extension, the Biden administration) is abhorrent. Why would the federal government fail to offer assistance to Americans in desperate need of support? The official answer from the government is that they can't provide assistance because the railroad company, Norfolk Southern, has agreed to pay for part of the damages and that there was a “lack of physical damage to residential buildings.”
Despite Norfolk Southern's promise to pay for some of the damage their derailment caused, the people of East Palestine are still in dire need of help right now. It doesn't matter that Norfolk will pay for the damages in a year or two, our friends in Ohio need clean air to breath and clean water to drink. So why would the White House wait for the company responsible to step up, when they have all of the resources in the world and could make a difference right now?
Although we don't yet have the answers to those questions, one thing remains clear: this story is not over yet, and we'll likely see lawsuits when the dust settles. The political fallout of the derailment is uncertain, but we can't afford to let the people of East Palestine rot away with toxins in the air they breath, the water they drink, and the food they eat.
To learn more about FEMA's failure to take action, read this article from the Washington Examiner. An excerpt of the article is below:
“Despite the severity of the wreckage, chemical release, and the disruption to the lives of local residents, we have just been informed that Ohio apparently does not meet the eligibility for FEMA assistance at this time,” the letter continued. “We respectfully request that you provide a detailed response as to why the residents of this community do not qualify for assistance from your agency.”
The derailment triggered evacuations from the town and surrounding community when the 140-car train went off the tracks after catching fire. Twenty of the cars were carrying toxic chemicals such as vinyl chloride.
DeWine said he was told that part of the reason they were denied assistance is because the railroad company, Norfolk Southern, had agreed to pay for part of the expenses, and because there was a lack of physical damage to residential buildings, according to Newsweek. DeWine added that he has reached out to the White House and other federal agencies for assistance instead.