(UnitedVoice.com) – East Palestine, Ohio, was the site of a terrible environmental disaster. A train derailed, spilling chemicals, and caused hundreds of people to evacuate their homes. President Joe Biden never visited the town after the derailment, leading to widespread criticism. A year later, the POTUS has finally decided to head there.
On February 3, 2023, a Norfolk Southern freight train carrying hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine. The train was carrying several dangerous chemicals, including vinyl chloride, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, butyl acrylate, benzene residue, 2-ethylhexyl acrylate, and others. A massive fireball erupted when the train derailed, and dangerous smoke billowed into the air.
East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway declared a state of emergency. Approximately half of the town’s roughly 5,000 residents were told to evacuate. In the months that followed, people were concerned about their water supplies and what damage might have been caused by the toxic smoke they breathed in.
The cost to clean up the disaster is more than $1 billion as of January 2024. The company is responsible for the cost of the cleanup and has paid out millions to the community.
Biden Accepts Invitation
On January 31, the White House posted a press release announcing President Biden would be traveling to East Palestine and the communities in Pennsylvania that were impacted, in February. According to the administration, the POTUS would be there to discuss federal support for the communities and what has been done to hold Norfolk Southern accountable.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the president would visit sometime this month. She explained that the White House was working out the president’s schedule.
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 also pointed out that he went to the disaster site right after it happened “when it counted.”
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