The massive chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio due to a Norfolk Southern train derailment has brought all sorts of ire from folks quick to blame Biden for every damn thing when Trump Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao rolled back train braking safety regulations and Republicans like Marco Rubio demanded that the regs be further rolled back in October 2021, but now the EPA has stepped in to make things right.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced a sweeping enforcement action against Norfolk Southern on Tuesday, compelling the rail company to conduct and pay for cleanup actions associated with the Feb. 3 derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio.
“The Norfolk Southern train derailment has upended the lives of East Palestine families, and EPA’s order will ensure the company is held accountable for jeopardizing the health and safety of this community,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan in remarks prepared for a news conference in East Palestine. “Let me be clear: Norfolk Southern will pay for cleaning up the mess they created and for the trauma they’ve inflicted on this community.”
If the company fails to complete any of the actions ordered by the EPA, the agency will “immediately” conduct the necessary work and then seek to compel Norfolk Southern to pay triple the cost. The order will require the company to identify and clean contaminated soil and water; pay any EPA costs, including reimbursing the agency for cleaning services that it will offer to residents and businesses; and participate in public meetings at EPA’s request and post information on-line.
The rail company already faces multiple class-action suits from members of the East Palestine community over the incident, which forced residents within roughly a mile radius to evacuate their homes.
Now, how quickly will Ohio GOP Gov. Mike DeWine find a federal judge friendly enough to block this order, saying the Environmental Protection Agency has no authority to actually protect the environment?
We're going to find out in short order.