by Jeff Louderback at theepochtimes.com
A day after alerting Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine that the Norfolk Southern Railway train derailment and chemical spill in East Palestine does not qualify for an emergency declaration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced it will send a team to the eastern Ohio village dealing with the disaster’s aftermath.
In a joint statement on Feb. 17, DeWine and FEMA Regional Administrator Thomas Sivak reported that the federal agency has been in “constant contact” with the state and “working together since day one.”
FEMA will dispatch a senior response official and a regional incident management assistance team on Feb. 18 to assess potential long-term recovery needs and other ongoing operations.
On Feb. 3, a 150-car Norfolk Southern Railway freight train was passing through East Palestine when 50 of the cars derailed, including 10 containing hazardous chemicals.
The crash caused lingering fires and sent toxic chemicals into the air. To prevent an explosion, officials decided to drain vinyl chloride from five tanker cars into a trough and then light the substance on fire.
On Feb. 10, the EPA sent a letter to Norfolk Southern describing the chemicals found at the site of the train derailment following the controlled burn.
“Multiple rail cars and tankers were observed derailed, breached, and/or on fire,” the letter noted.
Vinyl chloride is a chemical used to make PVC pipes and other products. The National Cancer Institute notes that vinyl chloride has been linked to cancers of the brain, lungs, blood, lymphatic system, and, in particular, the liver.
The EPA’s letter also mentioned other potentially hazardous chemicals in the derailed tankers.
It specifically notes the presence of ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, ethylhexyl acrylate, isobutylene, and butyl acrylate.
The crash has been attributed to a mechanical issue with a rail car axle.
After the derailment, DeWine implored East Palestine residents to evacuate, saying that anyone who stayed faced “a life or death situation.”