East Palestine Residents Still Await Biden Visit After Derailment

Even as President Joe Biden embarked on yet another vacation for New Year’s, residents of East Palestine, Ohio, continue to pick up the pieces after February’s horrific train derailment.

The Norfolk Southern train exposed the town’s 4,700 citizens to 1.6 million pounds of toxic chemicals. Soil and water were highly contaminated, and townspeople rightly sought federal intervention into a catastrophe not of their making.

The White House repeated the claim that a presidential visit is coming and recently confirmed that expectation to the New York Times. 

Spokesman Jeremy Edwards told the outlet that Biden “continues to oversee a robust recovery effort to support the people of East Palestine, and he will visit when it is most helpful for the community.”

Now nearly 11 months have passed. 

Times reporter Erica L. Green interviewed residents who expressed their frustrations at the Democrat who once touted himself as “working class Joe.”

Many cite the political leanings of the area as the reason Washington’s elites ignored their plight. The county’s vote in the 2020 presidential election went to Trump by a staggering 70%.

Krissy Ferguson told the Times that she believes “it is political for him. I believe that if we were in a blue area, he would have come, and that hurts.”

An admitted Biden voter, Jessica Conard, explained “I feel like I don’t matter.” She and other residents were outraged when Biden flew past their beleaguered hamlet on his way to support union workers picketing in Michigan.

Former President Donald Trump visited the area shortly after the disaster in February. He donated large quantities of bottled water and cleaning supplies to assist after the contamination.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration said in September that a presidential visit is still in the cards.

That announcement came along with an executive order directing contamination testing every 60 days. The White House claimed it is necessary to hold Norfolk Southern accountable for the damage caused by the derailment.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also drew harsh criticism for not addressing the accident for 10 full days. He finally visited three weeks later as residents complained about him not touring the site in the aftermath of the incident.

 

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