WASHINGTON (WKBN) — For weeks, residents of East Palestine and surrounding communities have been waiting for President Joe Biden to release a statement on the Feb. 3 train derailment and subsequent cleanup efforts.
On Tuesday, the president posted a thread regarding the derailment, Norfolk Southern and environmental concerns on Twitter.
“Today, the @EPA ordered the train company, Norfolk Southern, to pay for the clean-up and disposal of hazardous materials,” he said on Twitter. “This is common sense. This is their mess. They should clean it up.”
Biden says his team has been working with state and local officials and was “on the ground hours after the train derailed.”
“The @USDOT [U.S. Department of Transportation] has made clear to rail companies that their pattern of resisting safety regulations has got to change,” Biden said.
He called on Congress to help with the implementation of more rail safety measures, saying that USDOT is limited in the scope of safety measures it can enforce due to previously elected officials’ administrations.
“Many of the elected officials pointing fingers right now want to dismantle the EPA – the agency that is making sure this cleanup happens,” Biden tweeted. “Rail companies have spent millions of dollars to oppose common-sense safety regulations. And it’s worked. This is more than a train derailment or a toxic waste spill – it’s years of opposition to safety measures coming home to roost.”
He concluded the thread by saying that rail companies will be held accountable when they fail to put safety first — after Norfolk Southern’s “mess” is dealt with.
“I want affected residents to know that we’ve got your back,” Biden said.