Norfolk Southern Railway’s decision to conduct a controlled burn of the toxic chemicals spilled during a Feb. 3 train derailment may go down as one of the most foolish in corporate history. And the federal government’s decision to minimize it may well become a defining moment in President Joe Biden’s administration.
The Biden Environmental Protection Agency’s pronouncement that air and water quality have returned to safe levels in East Palestine, Ohio, belies the reality on the ground in the devastated mid-western town.
Among the symptoms experienced by residents of the small mid-western town is a voice change.
The New York Post reported that, in addition to having difficulty breathing, East Palestine resident Wade Lovett, an auto detailer, now “sounds as if he’s been inhaling helium.” (He really does.)
In the video below, Lovett tells a reporter, “It’s just been like this ever since the train blew up. Lately, I sound like Mickey Mouse … Other than that, I just go and get tested and get checked out.”
His fiancee said that prior to this episode, Lovett’s voice had been deep and raspy.
Lovett continued, “My doctor says I most definitely have the chemicals in me.”
“My chest hurts at night time. It feels like I’m drowning a little. … I have a hard time breathing. I cough up phlegm a lot,” he continued.
Lovett told the Post, “I lost my job because the doctor won’t release me to go to work.”
But health issues and all, the Post reported that “Lovett and his fiancee, Tawnya Irwin, 45, spent last Thursday delivering bottled water to locals.”
It’s pretty clear that East Palestinians are suffering from some very real immediate health problems as a result of the derailment and the controlled burning of toxic materials that followed. And they are potentially facing far more serious long-term health concerns — including cancer and even birth defects — in the future.
Yet, despite complaints and medical proof of throat, lung, skin and eye issues from area residents, the EPA maintains that the water is safe to drink and the air is safe to breathe. We’d all like to think that the federal government would put citizens’ interests and safety ahead of political concerns, but we also know that, throughout history, there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary.
So, is the EPA covering up the Biden administration’s completely inept handling of this situation or rather their non-handling of it? Or could they possibly be telling the truth? I think we all have our doubts.
On Friday, The Washington Post reported on the results of a study conducted by scientists at Texas A&M University. The team analyzed data released by the EPA and detected “elevated levels of some chemicals at the derailment site.”
Researchers concluded that the chemicals could “pose long-term risks” for East Palestinians, the report said.
The Biden administration has downplayed the seriousness of this incident from the get-go. Biden himself felt a visit to the town was unnecessary, considering a trip to Ukraine to be a far better use of his time. According to a White House statement, the president wanted to “reaffirm our unwavering and unflagging commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.”
After promising billions more of U.S. taxpayer dollars on top of the $113 billion we’ve already ponied up for Ukraine, Biden returned home and still couldn’t be bothered to turn his attention to the plight of East Palestinian residents.
Will the administration’s disregard for its own citizens come back to bite them?
If not long before, I suppose we’ll find out in about 20 years when today’s East Palestine babies start having babies of their own — babies with tentacles for legs and bone-claws that shoot out of their hands.
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