The consequences of the derailment of a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous material on February 3rd and the subsequent igniting of its materials in East Palestine continue to unfold. While news from East Palestine has largely faded from the national scene in recent days, Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH) recently visited the town and gave a shocking update. The Ohio populist Republican alarmingly tweeted “Toxic chemicals are still just sitting in piles in East Palestine. President Biden: show some leadership and help these Americans clean up their community.”
In the video he attached to his tweet, Mr. Vance commented that there is “a massive mound of toxic dirt covered in plastic” in order to “prevent the chemicals from seeping back into the ground”. The senator however rhetorically questioned “why is this toxic mound of dirt still here in the first place? [There are] thousands and thousands of pounds of it.” Senator Vance answered that “the reason is because the Biden administration and the EPA is making it harder to get this stuff into licensed facilities where it can be properly disposed of.”
The Ohio senator further stated that he understood that “some states don’t want to take it but ultimately you have to get this stuff out of East Palestine and get into properly licensed facilities or it is going to continue to poison this community. There is no recovery for East Palestine until you get this stuff out of their community. It is time for the Biden administration to show some leadership and help us get this stuff out of East Palestine.”
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Many in the town have felt a sense of abandonment by Democrats. As Nick Sortor, a video journalist, commented “Joe Biden said TWO WEEKS AGO that he’d be coming here to visit the people of East Palestine. He now says he has no plans to. @POTUS has been hoping we’ll forget. He’s absolutely wrong. WHERE IS JOE BIDEN?”
Joe Biden said TWO WEEKS AGO that he’d be coming here to visit the people of East Palestine. He now says he has no plans to. @POTUS has been hoping we’ll forget. He’s absolutely wrong.
WHERE IS JOE BIDEN?
— Nick Sortor (@nicksortor) March 13, 2023
President Joe Biden did indeed say he would visit East Palestine but never set a date on when he would do so. Mr. Sortor also interacted with J.D. Vance when the senator was in East Palestine. Mr. Sortor tweeted that his takeaway from his conversation with Mr. Vance was that Vance “fears @POTUS is giving democrats PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT regarding East Palestine cleanup. He also said he wants a REAL commitment from the White House to the cleanup effort.”
🚨 U.S. Senator @JDVance1 just told me he fears @POTUS is giving democrats PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT regarding East Palestine cleanup.
He also said he wants a REAL commitment from the White House to the cleanup effort. pic.twitter.com/SzBH8wQ0sO
— Nick Sortor (@nicksortor) March 13, 2023
Attached to that tweet was Vance detailing what he thinks the Biden administration ought to do and mentioned the need for licensed facilities to be involved in the clean-up effort. The Republican senator is sponsoring legislation in the Senate called the Railway Safety Act of 2023 with the aim of preventing a reoccurrence of a East Palestine-like disasters.
The senator defended his bill from claims it violated the free market. He noted in a Senate hearing that “This is an industry [this being the railroad industry] that enjoys special subsidies that almost no industry enjoys. This is an industry that enjoys special legal carveouts that almost no industry enjoys. This is an industry that just three months ago had the Federal Government come in and save them from a labor dispute, it was effectively a bailout, and now they’re claiming before the Senate and the House that our reasonable legislation is somehow a violation of the free market.”
He added that “Well, pot meet the kettle because that doesn’t make an ounce of sense. You cannot claim special government privileges, you cannot ask the Government to bail you out and then resist basic public safety.”
Senator @JDVance1's Full Testimony At Senate Hearing On The Norfolk Southern Derailment In East Palestine, Ohio
Senator Vance Responding To People Claiming His Legislation Violates The "Free Market":
"This is an industry that enjoys special subsidies that almost no… https://t.co/qdNZ9SDZ6l pic.twitter.com/vjIV9xi6n5
— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) March 9, 2023
Hopefully, such outcries on the ongoing risks to the East Palestine community by J.D. Vance and others do not go unanswered.