COLUMBUS, Ohio — Governor Mike DeWine said Monday that he will “continue to raise hell” over tons of contaminated soil and wastewater that continue to sit near the site of train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
So far, roughly 3,100 tons of contaminated soil has been hauled away from the site but close to 26,000 tons remains, according to the governor’s office.
Both out-of-state companies federally approved to accept hazardous waste and elected leaders in those respective states have blocked or raised objections to the shipments of hazardous waste coming from East Palestine.
The latest includes Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, who tweeted Sunday that he “blocked” a shipment of waste from coming into Oklahoma from East Palestine.
“Late yesterday I was made aware that a shipment of toxic waste from the derailment in East Palestine, Ohio was coming to Oklahoma,” he tweeted Sunday. “There are too many unanswered questions and ultimately I made the decision that this is not in the best interest of Oklahomans. As of late last night that shipment has been blocked.”
Stitt’s office has not returned a phone call and email seeking comment or explanation on why it sought to block this shipment.
10 Investigates found that state’s own environmental website lists at least eight facilities that are authorized to accept types of commercial hazardous waste.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb had tweeted back on Feb. 28 that he had been displeased with the lack of communication from the U.S. EPA and that he objected to decision to ship the hazardous waste to Indiana.
Last week, however, he tweeted that third party lab results showed the hazardous waste had been tested and did not show harmful levels of dioxins.
The fire and spill of hazardous chemicals at the derailment site has sparked concerns from residents there about long-term environmental and health impacts.
DeWine said he has encouraged the U.S. EPA, which overseeing the site cleanup from February’s train derailment, and Norfolk Southern to find additional facilities willing to accept the leftover waste from the derailment.
“Well, what’s happened now is states are looking at this and they are saying we don’t want what’s coming out of East Palestine. The irony about this is they are accepting things in those states every single day that are a lot more problems connected with it. This is going to work out, this is something that has to work out. We can’t keep this in East Palestine.
When asked what he meant that it was going to work out and what assurances could be the provided to the people there, Gov. DeWine said:
“The assurance is simply this: I am going to continue to raise hell about it til we find places willing to take this product. We’ve taken this product in the state of Ohio – it is no worse and it’s cleaner product that what these other companies in these states are already taking. That’s the great irony behind this. Which makes absolutely no sense,” DeWine said.
A spokesman for Norfolk Southern told 10 Investigates Monday: “On behalf of the residents of East Palestine, we’re doing everything we can to quickly and safely obtain the necessary approvals to transport waste to facilities that are licensed and equipped to accept it.”
The spokesman did not respond to a follow-up email seeking clarity on a timeline or if specific facilities had been identified.
10 Investigates also reached out to the U.S. EPA as well. We have not heard back.
Governor DeWine’s office said he plans to return to East Palestine on Friday.
Officials warn of impersonators
Governor DeWine’s office on Monday also put out this warning:
Local authorities issued a warning today about individuals who are going door-to-door in East Palestine impersonating personnel from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Norfolk Southern. Currently, neither the CDC nor Norfolk Southern have personnel conducting any door-to-door operations. Some steps you can take to protect yourself and your community are:
- Verify their identity: Ask for identification and verify it before engaging with anyone who comes to your home unannounced.
- Don't share personal information: Never give out personal information such as your Social Security number or financial information.
- Report suspicious activity: If you suspect someone is impersonating a CDC or Norfolk Southern employee, report it to your local authorities immediately.
- Spread the word: Share the warning with your friends, family, and neighbors so they can be aware of the potential threat and take the necessary precautions.
The East Palestine Police Department can be reached by calling (330) 426-4341.