The federal government has ordered a temporary halt to the shipment of contaminated waste from the site of the train derailment in eastern Ohio that has prompted environmental and public health concerns.
Federal authorities paused shipments of waste out of East Palestine, Ohio, on Saturday. Norfolk Southern, the company that owns the train that derailed, had been responsible for relocating the waste. But other states raised concerns last week that they weren’t warned about receiving the waste, and the Environmental Protection Agency stepped in.
“Everyone wants this contamination gone from the community,” the EPA’s Region 5 administrator, Debra Shore, said, according to The Associated Press. “They don’t want the worry, and they don’t want the smell, and we owe it to the people of East Palestine to move it out of the community as quickly as possible.”
Officials in Michigan and Texas last week pushed back against the plan by the company to relocate some of the waste to areas in their states. Now, any relocation of the waste will have to go through the EPA for approval.
“EPA will ensure that all waste is disposed of in a safe and lawful manner at EPA-certified facilities to prevent further release of hazardous substances and impacts to communities,” Shore said.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s (R) office said that 15 truckloads of contaminated soil had been disposed of at a hazardous waste facility in Michigan. Other waste that was already trucked out of East Palestine would be stored at a facility in Texas. Sunday shows preview: The Russia-Ukraine war, one year in Nikki Fried to lead Florida Democrats as party chair
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), who represents a district where some of the waste was slated to be shipped, said that there was no advance notice of the plan.
“We were not given a heads up on this reported action. Our priority is to always keep the people we represent safe,” she said in a statement.
The Biden administration has been sharply criticized for its response to the disaster. The cleanup and disposal of waste is continuing weeks after the original crash, which forced residents to evacuate.