- The Washington Times - Monday, February 27, 2023

Federal teams went door to door over the weekend to check on 350 households in East Palestine, Ohio, and inquire about their health after a freight train containing hazardous chemicals derailed earlier this month, the White House said Monday.

The teams are on track to exceed their target of reaching 400 families on Monday.

The Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were involved in the door-to-door effort. They provided flyers with resources and conducted health surveys, a White House official said.

The Biden administration is highlighting its efforts to respond to the Feb. 3 derailment amid claims it was slow to respond to the potential health hazards from the incident.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited Thursday, though weeks after the derailment.

He said the administration will hold the Norfolk Southern train company’s feet to the fire, and make sure residents are getting accurate information about the safety of their air, water and soil.

Local residents also have made it clear they do not trust the railroad company to be candid about the health and environmental fallout.

They also have been skeptical of whether the government had done enough and will be there to help them over the long haul.

The White House on Monday insisted the EPA and Department of Transportation “sprang into action” within hours of the derailment and offered help to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and his team.

“With the state in charge and the EPA leading the federal response, they quickly got to work holding the rail company accountable, containing the damage, and monitoring for environmental impacts,” the White House official said.

• Seth McLaughlin contributed to this report.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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