Sen. JD Vance (R-OH) this week visited the town of East Palestine, Ohio to survey the damages caused by the February 3 train derailment, which resulted in large quantities of hazardous chemicals being released into the area, as well as the atmosphere after authorities conducted a “controlled burn.”
While on the ground in Leslie Run, Vance reported the damages supposedly caused by the chemical disaster.
“Hey guys, so I’m here at Leslie Run and there are dead worms and dead fish all throughout this water. Something I just discovered is that if you scrape the creek bed, it’s like chemical is coming out of the ground,” Vance said in the video.
Senator Vance then took a stick and promptly scraped the creek bed, revealing a rainbow-colored, oil-like substance in the water.
“You just see that chemical pop out of the creek. This is disgusting. And the fact that we have not cleaned up the train crash, the fact that these chemicals are still seeping in the ground is an insult to the people who live in East Palestine,” Senator Vance said.
“Do not forget these people. We’ve got to keep applying pressure. That’s how we’re going to fix this problem,” the Ohio Senator added.
Senator Vance recently put out a statement to his website and social media detailing how he was horrified by the “frightening” images of vinyl chloride and other toxic chemical smoke over East Palestine in his state.
He noted that the smoke came as a result of a “controlled burn” by authorities, releasing chemicals like butyl acrylate into the atmosphere.
“While those plumes of smoke are now gone, many questions remain,” Vance said, questioning whether the air and water was safe for residents. The Senator noted that while tests performed by state and federal agencies have been “encouraging,” he described the reports of “contaminated waterways and effects on wildlife” as “alarming.”
“Aside from this incident, there is a troubling trend of catastrophic infrastructure problems in our country, and more than a few reports of sabotage,” Vance noted.
Citizens of East Palestine during town hall questioned the Biden administration’s response to the devastating incident on Wednesday night, as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigeig came under fire for complaining about white construction workers having too many jobs in the wake of the train derailment chaos.
“We’ve heard way too many stories from generations passed of infrastructure where you’ve got a neighborhood, often a neighborhood of color, that finally sees the project come to them, but everyone in the hard hats on that project, looking like…uh, uh, doing the good paying jobs, don’t look like they came from anywhere near the neighborhood,” the Transportation Secretary said as Ohio reeled from the chemical fallout.
“You can build community wealth that will help close wealth gaps in this country if we can tear down those barriers, but that happens at the delivery level,” Buttigieg added.
This news and commentary by Andrew White originally appeared on Valiant News.