Saturday, July 20, 2024

Biden Denies Ohio A Disaster Declaration Over Train Derailment

Here’s something…peculiar. Two weeks after the Norfolk Southern train derailment has led to poisonous chemicals strewn all around the town of East Palestine, Ohio, the federal government won’t afford the state of Ohio the status of a federal emergency.

The Biden administration turned down a request for federal disaster assistance from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in the aftermath of the train derailment in the state earlier this month that led to a large release of toxic chemicals.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) told Ohio’s state government that it was not eligible for disaster assistance to help the community recover from the toxic spill, Dan Tierney, a spokesperson for DeWine, told Fox News Digital on Thursday. Tierney explained that FEMA believed the incident didn’t qualify as a traditional disaster, such as a tornado or hurricane, for which it usually provides assistance.

“The DeWine Administration has been in daily contact with FEMA to discuss the need for federal support, however FEMA continues to tell Governor DeWine that Ohio is not eligible for assistance at this time,” DeWine’s office said in a statement earlier in the day. “Governor DeWine will continue working with FEMA to determine what assistance can be provided.”

FEMA said that its team is in constant communication with DeWine’s office, but didn’t comment on the request for federal relief.

We’re not going to say that there aren’t some in-the-weeds procedural issues out there which might interfere with a disaster declaration that turns loose federal aid dollars for the people of East Palestine. There might well be.

We do find it incredibly strange how little interest the federal government seems to have had in the East Palestine disaster. This has been the most low-key federal response to a legitimate environmental disaster we’ve ever seen. Pete Buttigieg can’t be bothered to show up, Biden has nothing to say, the EPA is barely even around, the feds had no involvement when the railroad decided to burn off five tank car loads of vinyl chloride and thus release poisonous phosgene gas for miles around…all of it is incredibly strange.

These disaster declarations go out when there’s a fire or a tornado, and those are generally over and done with by the time the feds show up. With this, you have a full cleanup operation still to go and an active harmful environment to remedy. And there’s no effort to apply federal disaster status to the problem?

Peculiar, to be sure.