AP Exclusive: EPA didn't declare a public health emergency after fiery Ohio derailment

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Officials say the aftermath of last year’s fiery train derailment in eastern Ohio doesn’t qualify as a public health emergency because widespread health problems and ongoing chemical exposures haven’t been documented.

FILE - Debris from a Norfolk Southern freight train lies scattered and burning along the tracks on Feb. 4, 2023, the day after it derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. in eastern Ohio doesn't qualify as a public health emergency because widespread health problems and ongoing chemical exposures haven't been documented, federal officials said.

The EPA said in a statement that the order it did issue telling Norfolk Southern it was responsible for the damage declared that"the conditions at the derailment site ‘may constitute an imminent and substantial endangerment to the public health or welfare or the environment.’” So the agency said it didn't see a need for a public health emergency because it had the legal authority it needed to respond.

Lesley Pacey, who is an environmental investigator with the watchdog group, said she wants to make sure that East Palestine residents get the help that they need to recover from the derailment. He reiterated that none of the agency's more than 100 million tests of air, water and soil ever showed concerning levels of chemicals apart from the soil immediately around the derailment that was

 

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