Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown has called on governor Mike DeWine to declare a state of emergency in East Palestine after a catastrophic derailment bled chemicals into the water, air and earth.
“A man-made disaster of this scale, scope, and significance necessitates a response and deployment of resources that are commensurate in scale and scope,” Mr Brown said in a statement.
Mr Brown said he was grateful to the state agencies who have responded to the “unprecedented disaster” on 3 February.
“But it’s critical we act quickly to supplement those efforts,” adding that additional federal resources would play a critical role in helping residents get back on their feet.
On Thursday, Mr DeWine said in a post on Twitter that he had just spoken to the Biden administration about securing federal assistance from the Department of Health Human Services and the CDC to provide direct support for the clean up operation.
He added that the Federal Emergency Management Agency “continues to advise that Ohio is not eligible for assistance at this time”.
Mr DeWine has insisted that air and water quality testing shows no sign for alarm.
The Norfolk Southern train carrying toxic chemicals and suffered a catastrophic derailment on the outskirts of East Palestine on 3 February.
Almost five days after the incident, the residents were allowed to return to their homes after railroad crews drained and burned off a toxic chemical from five tanker cars. Thousands of fish died in the aftermath, and livestock and pets have reportedly been dropping dead.
Many of the town’s population have since reported respiratory illnesses.
Residents packed a town hall meeting in East Palestine on Wednesday demanding reassurances over the toxic chemicals spilled and burned in a huge plume over their homes and businesses.
A state of emergency declaration would enable federal resources to help with the clean up operation.
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