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Biden to Visit the Site of Train Derailment in East Palestine, Ohio

Since the poisonous leak about a year ago, locals have been pressuring President Biden to go because they are dissatisfied with the federal response.

The White House announced on Wednesday that President Biden will visit Eastern Pennsylvania in February to mark the first anniversary of coming off the toxic track, which has adversely affected the local community’s health and the environment.

President Biden has faced criticism from political leaders and residents for the delay in the trip, which he promised to undertake one month after coming off the track on February 3, 2023. The White House did not specify when President Biden will make the trip in February.

The Biden administration has sent a steady stream of resources to Eastern Pennsylvania and oversees the cleanup efforts by the responsible rail company, Norfolk Southern, for coming off the track. The administration has emphasized that the company should be held accountable for cleanup costs and other measures.

However, political pressure has increased as residents have expressed deep concerns about prolonged exposure to pollution, and Republicans have seized on the issue. Former President Donald J. Trump, a likely rival in President Biden’s reelection campaign, visited Eastern Pennsylvania and told the crowd, “You haven’t been forgotten.”

In January, the mayor and residents of Eastern Pennsylvania sent a letter to the White House, requesting a personal meeting with President Biden to hear their concerns.

General view of the site of the derailment of a train carrying hazardous waste, in East Palestine, Ohio, U.S., March 2, 2023. REUTERS/Alan Freed/File Photo

In a separate letter from residents, it is stated, “As the first anniversary approaches, our community has been deeply affected.”

The letter says, “While we are strong and resilient people, we also deserve to be heard.”

“We say this to demonstrate that the highest office in the world does not leave hardworking Americans in adverse situations. As the President of the people, by the people, and for the people, we trust that you will take action for us.”

When the train derailed, it was carrying more than 700,000 pounds of vinyl chloride, a carcinogen used in the production of pipes, furniture, and packaging. In a controlled burn to prevent a widespread explosion, most of the cargo was incinerated by emergency responders.

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