Tuesday, April 23, 2024
  1. You Are At:
  2. News
  3. World
  4. 'Waiting for right moment': Biden announces to visit Ohio train accident site a year after derailment

'Waiting for right moment': Biden announces to visit Ohio train accident site a year after derailment

The White House said Biden was waiting for the right moment to visit East Palestine, Ohio-- triggering criticism that he was ignoring the victims of an explosive fire caused by a train derailment.

Ajeet Kumar Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Ohio Published on: February 16, 2024 15:12 IST
US President Joe Biden (L) and Ohio train derailment sitee (R)
Image Source : AP/REUTERS US President Joe Biden (L) and Ohio train derailment site (R)

Ohio: US President Joe Biden waited for almost a year to visit the Ohio train accident site. However, the White House backed the timing of his trip with a defence which could genuinely blow one's mind. "The presidential candidate was waiting for the "right moment" to travel the region," this is what the White House has said amid massive backlash. The Republicans alleged he was ignoring the victims of an explosive fire caused by a train derailment.

On Friday, the president goes to the village of 5,000 at the invitation of its mayor and as the Environmental Protection Agency is on the verge of finishing an extensive cleanup paid for by the train company, Norfolk Southern. Republicans have blasted Biden for not visiting sooner and there are some enduring tensions in the community. “The president has always said when the time is right and when it made sense for him to go, he would go,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “And so, that’s what he’s doing.”

"No concerns about drinking the water”

Ahead of the trip, Jean-Pierre said in response to a question that Biden has “no concerns about drinking the water” in the town, where chemicals and hazardous waste spread because of the fire. She noted that EPA Administrator Michael Regan drank the water during an earlier visit. Democrat Biden is venturing into Republican territory amid a reelection campaign. Aides say it’s a chance for Biden to hear from the community, talk about his efforts to hold Norfolk Southern accountable and push for passage of a rail safety law. A number of administration officials have visited over the past year.

“It’s been a year of challenge, but a year of solidarity,” Regan said in a statement. “I’m proud of East Palestine, a community that has embodied resilience, hope and progress.”

During Biden’s visit, there will be a separate rally for former President Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner. Trump won nearly 72% of the vote in Ohio’s Columbiana County, which includes East Palestine.

"Anti-Biden event"

Mike Young, the rally’s coordinator, described the grass-roots event as “anti-Biden.” He said he delivered water to the community after the disaster and the president should have been an immediate presence on the ground. “The sentiment from residents has been: Where were you a year ago?” Young said. “Too little, too late. And now Biden shows up at election time.” The visit will be Biden’s first trip interacting with everyday voters since a special counsel’s report last week questioned the mental fortitude of the 81-year-old president. East Palestine has emerged as a test of his ability to bridge political divides and publicly show that he’s up for the burdens of the presidency.

The EPA engaged in an intense cleanup and says the community’s air, water and soil are now safe. It removed more than 176,000 tons of hazardous waste. More than 49 million gallons of water, rainfall and snowmelt were removed or treated. The federal agency is also collecting 2,500 samples to ensure that the cleanup has succeeded. Norfolk Southern said it has spent roughly $1.1 billion in its response to the derailment. Since the fire began on February 3, 2023, and caused hazardous chemicals to mix, the company says it has invested $103.2 million in the community, including $21 million distributed to residents.

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: 'Have hired Hunter Biden to protect through his dad': FBI informant falsely told Ukrainian energy company


Read all the Breaking News Live on indiatvnews.com and Get Latest English News & Updates from World