Truck Carrying 40,000 Pounds of Toxic Material from East Palestine Overturns, Spilling Contents
Apparently, it’s the gift that just keeps on giving.
A truck carrying 20 tons of toxic soil from the site of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, managed to transport the soil approximately four miles Monday afternoon before overturning and spilling about half of it, WKBN reported.
The crash occurred just before 1:00 p.m., the Ohio State Highway Patrol told the outlet, on State Route 165 in Columbiana County, when the truck veered off the road and went into the ditch.
The truck then struck a utility pole and rolled over onto its right side.
The truck’s 74-year-old driver, Phillip Falck, suffered only minor injuries.
Officers issued Falck a citation for operating a vehicle without reasonable control, according to WKBN.
The Ohio Department of Transportation closed the roadway while cleanup occurred. The station reported that it was re-opened later Monday evening.
The Ohio state Environmental Protection Agency, which responded to the scene along with local emergency responders, told WKBN that the spill was “contained” and did not represent “a threat to nearby waterways.
The federal EPA had come under fire for its initial response to the Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern derailment that caused the soil contamination in the first place, forcing the Biden administration to defend its response, even as local leaders and members of Congress demanded more be done.
The derailment left toxic chemicals spilled or burned off, prompting evacuations and fears of contamination by wary residents distrustful of the state and federal response.
The administration said it had “mobilized a robust, multi-agency effort to support the people of East Palestine, Ohio,” since the derailment.
Michael Regan, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, visited the site on Feb. 16, nearly two weeks after the derailment, and walked along a creek that still reeks of chemicals as he sought to reassure skeptical residents that the water is fit for drinking and the air safe to breathe.
“I’m asking they trust the government,” Regan said. “I know that’s hard. We know there’s a lack of trust.”
He said officials are “testing for everything that was on that train.”
In the two weeks following the accident, no other Cabinet member had visited the rural village, where about 5,000 people live near the Pennsylvania line. But administration officials insisted that their response has been immediate and effective.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who has faced criticism from lawmakers and the mayor of East Palestine for not visiting the site, said the Ohio disaster was just one of many derailments that occur each year.
A train hauling hazardous materials derailed Thursday near Detroit, but none spilled, officials said.
“There’s clearly more that needs to be done, because while this horrible situation has gotten a particularly high amount of attention, there are roughly 1,000 cases a year of a train derailment,” the former mayor of the fourth-largest city in Indiana told Yahoo Finance on Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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