Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said he has not seen Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg “at all” in the aftermath of the derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals in Ohio.
A train carrying toxic chemicals derailed near East Palestine, Ohio, Feb. 3, prompting evacuations and shelter-in-place orders as authorities moved to address the release of the chemicals. Officials warned of a possible “catastrophic blast” Feb. 6, carrying out a controlled burn of the chemicals, which resulted in a plume of toxic smoke filling the air, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
“I’ve not seen him at all,” DeWine said of Buttigieg, who has come under fire for waiting until Monday evening to discuss the situation via a thread on Twitter. “I did get a call from the president. You know, the president said I’ll send you whatever you need.” (RELATED: ‘No Big Deal’: Gov’t Response Would’ve Been Different If Toxic Train Derailment Happened In DC, Tucker Carlson Says)
“We’re concerned, we’re not going to leave. We’re going to continue to do everything that we can, every single day, 24/7,” DeWine said. “Because look, this could be my family in there, could be a loved one in there. These are people we care about. They’re our citizens. We’re going to do everything we can to protect them.”
MacCallum pressed DeWine on reports from residents of effects from the chemical spill, including “polka-dot lips” and “waking up in the middle of the night flushed and red.”
Residents of the town described “uneasiness” following the derailment when talking to the Daily Caller News Foundation, with some saying they have bought air purifiers and only drink bottled water. Others noted the deaths of fish and animals, including family pets, prompting a local humane society to urge people to go to veterinary offices to have their pets examined.
“The railroad won’t give answers. It’s kind of brushed off by Governor DeWine, the severity of it, and I’m not sure if it’s because we’re a poor community that it doesn’t really matter, if maybe we were a more affluent community maybe more people would take notice, but we matter,” East Palestine resident Bree Hall told the DCNF. “East Palestine matters and I just wish more people would take it serious.”
DeWine said the Ohio EPA was testing the drinking water in the system and that those with private wells could have them tested.
“The water in the system, the community system, the village’s system, that water is safe. If you have an individual well, what we have said is we will come out, Ohio EPA will come out and test your individual well,” DeWine said. “So until your well is tested, if that’s what your water source is, you should not drink it. I would wait until I’ve got the all clear from an actual test that will be done if you have an individual well.”
The Department of Transportation did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.
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