Discover more from "Relentless" Newsletter
Biden Administration Rejects Ohio's Request for Emergency Aid After Train Derailment Leads to Ecological Disaster
"The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) told Ohio's state government that it was not eligible for disaster assistance."
The Biden administration is rejecting a request for federal disaster assistance from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in the aftermath of the train derailment and ecological disaster that has devastated the area around East Palestine, Ohio.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) told Ohio's state government that it was not eligible for disaster assistance, a spokesperson for DeWine told Fox News Digital on Thursday.
The Dewine spokeseman explained that FEMA believed the incident qualified as a traditional disaster, such as a tornado or hurricane, for which it usually provides assistance.
"The DeWine Administration has been in daily contact with FEMA to discuss the need for federal support, however FEMA continues to tell Governor DeWine that Ohio is not eligible for assistance at this time," DeWine's office said in an earlier statement. "Governor DeWine will continue working with FEMA to determine what assistance can be provided."
FEMA merely said its team is in constant communication with DeWine's office, but did not remark on the disaster relief.
"FEMA is in constant contact with the emergency operations center in East Palestine and with the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. We are closely coordinating with EPA, HHS, and the CDC, who are helping to test water and air quality, and to conduct public health assessments," FEMA spokesperson Jeremy Edwards told Fox News Digital.
Rogan O'Handley had his own theory on why the Biden administration won't lift a finger to help the Ohio residents.
"Just in case you were wondering why Biden and Buttigieg are ignoring the toxic chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio," O'Handley remarked. "Columbiana County voted 71.7% for Trump in 2020."
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg actually had the gall to blame the Trump administration for the train derailment, while claiming he was powerless to do more to prevent it.
“We’re constrained by law on some areas of rail regulation (like the braking rule withdrawn by the Trump administration in 2018 because of a law passed by Congress in 2015), but we are using the powers we do have to keep people safe,” he added.
“And of course, I’m always ready to work with Congress on furthering (or in some cases, restoring) our capacity to address rail safety issues.”
Buttigieg also appeared to minimize the train derailment while warping statistics to fit his narrative.
According to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters’ March 2022 report on “Technological Disasters: Trends & Transport accidents,” such transport accidents are relatively rare, and have been decreasing since 2000.
There are only about a dozen actual train derailments each year, rather than minor rail incidents, which can range between 1,000 and 1,700 each year.
There is also controversy brewing about just how bad the Ohio disaster really is and if regulatory agencies and safety monitoring firms are engaging in a cover-up.
Even after being told that it is safe to return home, local residents are concerned about local fish, wildlife, and livestock dying in alarming numbers.
A new video shows the alarming presence of chemicals in an Ohio creek.
U.S. Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio also found pollution in nearby waterways.
In addition to water quality concerns, there is also the issue of air quality hazards. Vinyl chloride, according to the New Jersey EPA, "is a CARCINOGEN in humans. There may be no safe level of exposure to a carcinogen, so all contact should be reduced to the lowest possible level."
Nonetheless, neither Mayor Pete nor Joe Biden nor Kamala Harris have been to East Palestine, Ohio to reassure residents in the nearly two weeks since the disaster began.
“It’s been nearly two weeks and Mayor Pete has yet to go to East Palestine, Ohio,” Rep. Lauren Boebert said on Twitter. “Perhaps they should consider changing the name of their town to Ukraine if they want the Biden Regime to pay better attention.”
If this were on Trump's watch, Democratic Party would be speaking on location. Radical groups would be holding rallies. Cable news would be covering it 24/7 like it was Chernobyl, Three-Mile Island and the Exxon Valdez spill rolled into one.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday provided an update on the chemical fallout from the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment and ecological disaster.
“There is a plume [of chemicals] moving down the Ohio River," said Tiffani Kavalec, the head of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s water management subdivision. "It's near Huntington, West Virginia, right now."
Kavalec said that the plume is composed mainly of “fire combustion chemicals.” There may also be multiple “volatile organic compounds” in the Ohio River but are “very diluted,” she added.
Local news station WLWT reported on Monday that small amounts of the chemicals had been identified in the Ohio River, which winds through or borders Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. It supplies more than 5 million people with drinking water. States hundreds of miles away are evaluating its drinking water for the presence of toxic chemicals.
However, the latest reports on Wednesday contradict the earlier assessments.
"No contaminants were found in the Ohio River after Greater Cincinnati Water Works tested it for multiple hazardous chemicals," WXIX reported.
"According to the Water Quality of Richard Miller Treatment Plant Intake data, all four chemicals were not detected in the Ohio River, including butyl acrylate and vinyl chloride," the report added.
But investigative journalist Kanekoa is throwing the red flag on the choice of one private contractor hired by Norfolk Southern to test for water, soil, and air quality in the area of the train derailment and chemical disaster.
“The Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health (CTEH), a private contractor hired by Norfolk Southern to test water, soil, and air quality in East Palestine, Ohio, has a history of minimizing the effects of environmental disasters to satisfy its corporate employers, according to critics,” Kanekoa found.
CTEH’s work for BP in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 drew accusations of the “fox guarding the chicken coop” from the New York Times and “conflicts of interest” from Democrats in Congress, Kanekoa noted.
Democrats cited in the report also noted the company's “inaccurate monitoring procedures during an air quality survey following the 2008 coal ash spill in Tennessee, bad sampling techniques used to evaluate soil contamination at a 2005 refinery spill in Louisiana, and a controversial analysis of toxic drywall in 2006.”
There is strong evidence that Norfolk Southern engaged in “regulatory capture” of the railway safety administrators in Washington prior to the East Palestine accident. Basic safety measures could have prevented the train derailment and chemical disaster – if Norfolk Southern and like-minded rail companies had not successfully defeated them.
Norfolk Southern is owned by a number of major investment firms, including BlackRock, Vanguard, and JP Morgan Chase. In 2017, the rail company successfully lobbied the U.S. government to do away with mandatory safety regulations, such as pneumatic brakes and minimum staffing requirements. The rail company had recently lobbied the government to maintain these lax safety regulations.
"Before this weekend’s fiery Norfolk Southern train derailment prompted emergency evacuations in Ohio, the company helped kill a federal safety rule aimed at upgrading the rail industry’s Civil War-era braking systems," according to documents reviewed by The Lever. According to the report, the train was not being regulated as a “high-hazard flammable train.”
At the same time as it was lobbying for the lax safety rules, Norfolk Southern paid executives millions and spent billions on stock buybacks, even as it shed thousands of employees despite warnings that understaffing would increase safety risks. Norfolk Southern officials also fought off a shareholder initiative that would have required executives to “assess, review, and mitigate risks of hazardous material transportation.”
There are other Ohio residents concerned about the long-term impact from the ecological disaster on the agricultural industry. Many local farmers believe there may be residual effects from the disaster for years to come. There are reports that Norfolk Southern is offering $1000 "inconvenience" fees that attorneys worry may be a cynical attempt to limit its liability.
If the Biden administration's behavior during the Covid pandemic is any indication, then it will bend over backwards to protect big corporate interests. Meanwhile, environmental activists like Al Gore and Greta Thunberg have been very silent about the Ohio ecological disaster.
Something is rotten in Ohio — and it's not just the dead fish.
Big Tech is leading a campaign to destroy independent media. Meanwhile, the corporate media is as dishonest as ever. Please subscribe to The Wildfire Newsletter to defend the free press!