The US Environmental Protection Agency is ordering states to stop blocking contaminated waste from a burning train derailment in Ohio from being sent to hazardous waste storage sites across the country.
The US Environmental Protection Agency ordered states on Friday to stop blocking contaminated waste from a burning train derailment in Ohio from being sent to hazardous waste storage sites across the country.
A handful of politicians and states have tried to block shipments from eastern Palestine, including Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, who last week said he had prevented derailment debris from reaching his state.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan said there was no reason for states to block shipments of the type of waste that certified facilities routinely handle every day.
“This is inadmissible and this is unacceptable,” he said.
The EPA has ordered the Norfolk Southern Railroad to cover the costs of cleaning up the February 3 derailment that toppled 38 railcars. No one was hurt, but concerns about a possible explosion led state and local officials to approve the release and burning of toxic vinyl chloride from five tank cars and forced the evacuation of half the village.
Ohio this week filed a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern to ensure it pays for cleanup and environmental and economic damages, along with soil and groundwater monitoring for years to come.
Norfolk Southern has said it is committed to cleaning up the site and helping the community recover.
Many residents remain concerned about what they might have been exposed to and how it will affect the area in years to come. Government officials say tests conducted over the past month have found no dangerous levels of chemicals in the air or water in the area.
The cleanup should be completed in about three months, Regan said Friday.
So far, crews have removed nearly 5,500 tons of contaminated soil and 7 million gallons of sewage from the area, according to the EPA.
Three weeks ago, the agency briefly halted removal of contaminated waste from the area when concerns were raised about oversight of where it was sent to sites in Michigan and Texas. Hazardous waste sites in Ohio and Indiana have also received shipments in recent weeks.