(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) One hundred and fifty days after a catastrophic train derailment and subsequent chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine requested President Joe Biden declare the site a major disaster zone.
According the Daily Wire, the Republican governor sent a letter to the president with the request.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency refused to grant an extension on the site’s disaster status as the state “continues to evaluate long term needs.”
While there may be possible assistance from Norfolk Southern, the train company responsible for the accident, there was no guarantee of that continuing.
“The possibility remains that the voluntary support provided by Norfolk Southern could at some point in the future cease, and this Declaration is needed to ensure that the State and Federal government use all resources available to step in and provide the community with needed assistance,” DeWine wrote.
The National Transportation Safety Board recently published a report revealing that the wheels on one of the train cars fell off. No one died in the initial crash, but locals expressed concerns about the chemicals causing health and environmental problems.
Cleanup of the site is ongoing, even five months after the incident.
“Residents continue to report medical conditions and are concerned that the air and water were impacted by the chemicals released during this incident,” the governor said. “This derailment and the subsequent controlled release were extraordinary events that continue to garner national media coverage.”
DeWine also noted the financial decline many of the locals faced in the wake of the crisis.
“In addition to the physical and mental health impacts, there have been economic impacts,” the governor wrote. “Homeowners and business have seen property value decline and loss of business as people are hesitant to come into the community.”
The White House has been slow to respond to the incident in East Palestine altogether, taking several days to send emergency assistance immediately after the disaster and only sending Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to the scene after former President Donald Trump made a visit.
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