Railroad Told To Halt Waste Pickup in Ohio

Railroad Told To Halt Waste Pickup in Ohio

(RightWing.org) – Following the February 3 derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, Norfolk Southern Railroad has been shipping contaminated soil out of the area for disposal in other states. Now the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered it to stop, saying the company can’t move hazardous materials between states.

On February 3, a Norfolk Southern train went off the rails near East Palestine, and three days later, the railroad burned off five tank cars of vinyl chloride to prevent an explosion. Since then, it’s been cleaning up the disaster site, removing contaminated soil and millions of gallons of firefighting water. However, on February 24, the EPA ordered the company to stop shipping waste outside the state without federal approval.

The EPA has stepped in because other states complained about waste being shipped into their areas. Officials from Michigan and Texas say they weren’t told about the shipments. Half a million gallons of water have already been sent to a disposal plant in Harris County, Texas; one local judge, Lina Hidalgo, said, “we were told yesterday the materials were coming only to learn today they’ve been here for a week.”

Fifteen truckloads of contaminated soil have been moved to Belleville, Michigan, and again state officials say this was done without full disclosure.

According to EPA regional administrator Debra Shore, Norfolk Southern seems to have been obeying federal regulations for waste transport. However, she said, the EPA “did hear from residents who were concerned,” so the agency is reviewing long-distance shipments.

On February 27, the EPA allowed Norfolk Southern to resume shipments to two waste disposal sites in Ohio, and Shore says two more — another in Ohio and one in Indiana — can also receive waste from the site in East Palestine.

Meanwhile, the EPA continues to insist there’s no dangerous contamination of East Palestine’s air and drinking water. Residents are still complaining of symptoms, though, and more are monitoring wells scheduled for drilling this week to check for pollution in the groundwater.

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