East Palestine, Ohio, was the site of a terrible environmental disaster. Chemicals were spilled when a train derailed, forcing hundreds of people to flee their houses. Much criticism followed the derailment as President Joe Biden never made a trip to the area. A year later, the POTUS has finally decided to head there.
A hazardous materials-carrying Norfolk Southern freight train derailed near East Palestine on February 3, 2023. Several hazardous substances, such as vinyl chloride, 2-ethylhexyl acrylate, butyl acrylate, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, and others, were being transported by the train. When the train fell apart, a huge fireball burst into the air, spewing toxic fumes.
A state of emergency was proclaimed by East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway. The community had about 5,000 residents, and about half of them were ordered to leave. People worried about the damage that the poisonous smoke they had inhaled might have done to their water supply in the months that followed.
As of January 2024, more than $1 billion will be needed to clean up the catastrophe. Millions have been given to the community by the firm, which also bears the cost of cleanup.
Biden Accepts Invitation
President Biden will visit the affected towns in Pennsylvania and East Palestine in February, according to a news release released by the White House on January 31. Speaking about federal support for the communities and the actions taken to hold Norfolk Southern accountable, the administration said that the President of the United States will be present.
President Obama will make a visit this month, according to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. She clarified that scheduling for the president was being worked out by the White House.
The Associated Press reported Mayor Conaway said that he invited the president to come to the town. He said he doesn’t support Biden and is “as conservative as they come.” But he explained, “Sometimes [he has] to do what’s best for the people, so, yes, that’s why [he] invited him.”
Former President Donald Trump mocked Biden for making the trip a year later. He said the world is “blowing up around us,” and Biden has “finally decided to visit” the town. Trump said that he thinks the only reason the POTUS is going now is because he has “to develop some political credibility because EVERYTHING else he has done has been such a DISASTER.” The former president further mentioned that he visited the scene immediately following the tragedy “when it counted.”