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Tags: president joe biden | visit | east palestine | pa. | derailment | toxic

Biden to Visit East Palestine 1 Year After Derailment

Wednesday, 31 January 2024 09:09 AM EST

President Joe Biden will visit East Palestine, Ohio, next month to meet with residents and assess efforts to address last year's Norfolk Southern train derailment that spilled toxic chemicals and triggered health concerns, a White House official said on Wednesday.

The White House did not give a specific date for the planned trip, which comes one year after the Feb. 3, 2023, accident that forced residents to abandon their homes after the train caught fire and released over a million gallons of hazardous materials and pollutants near the state's border with Pennsylvania.

Billowing black plumes of smoke that swept over the town after the accident outraged East Palestine residents, many of whom have suffered from rashes, breathing problems and other ailments since the accident.

Fearing long-term health effects, the town of 4,700 people has pressed for accountability. Federal and state lawsuits have been filed against the company amid calls for congressional reforms.

"The Administration will continue to support the people of East Palestine and other affected communities for as long as it takes, including by using every available tool to hold Norfolk Southern accountable," the White House official said in a statement announcing the visit.

But while the lawsuits filed by the U.S. Justice Department and the state of Ohio aim to ensure that Norfolk Southern pays the full cost of cleanup and any long-term effects of the derailment, efforts to pass bipartisan rail safety legislation has stalled in Congress.

Since December 2021, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has launched investigations into at least six significant accidents involving Norfolk Southern, including the East Palestine incident, as well as one into the company's safety practices and culture.

The Transportation Department's Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in August said Norfolk Southern needs "significant improvements."

Norfolk Southern has said that environmental monitoring by state and federal agencies shows that the air and water in East Palestine are safe. The railroad said it backs programs to compensate medical costs and protect drinking water.

The company in September said it would start compensating homeowners near the site who had to sell their homes at a reduced value in the wake of the derailment.

© 2024 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


US
President Joe Biden will visit East Palestine, Ohio, next month to meet with residents and assess efforts to address last year's Norfolk Southern train derailment that spilled toxic chemicals and triggered health concerns, a White House official said on Wednesday.
president joe biden, visit, east palestine, pa., derailment, toxic
358
2024-09-31
Wednesday, 31 January 2024 09:09 AM
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