Texas, Michigan Officials Complain About Ohio Toxic Waste Transfer

Texas and Michigan officials are not pleased with the disposal of shipments of contaminated water and soil from East Palestine, Ohio, in their states, as they said the transfer was conducted without proper and prior notice.

Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio said in a news release on Saturday that hazardous waste from the toxic spill caused by the Ohio train derailment was discarded in Texas and Michigan through licensed waste disposal facilities in the states. The disposal was conducted by Norfolk Southern, the rail company whose train carrying vinyl chloride derailed.

The disposal causes concern in light of the public health and environmental crisis the spill left in its wake. Per the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, over 43,700 aquatic animals have been killed since the derailment.

Among those who spoke up against the disposal was Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), who tweeted to condemn it on Saturday. “This process of dumping toxic waste in communities without prior notice to local cities and counties has to stop,” she wrote.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) also complained the waste transfer to Michigan was carried out without notice. According to her, she only knew about the plan from a public update by DeWine and had no information on the materials being shipped.

“We were not given a heads up on this reported action. Our priority is to always keep the people we represent safe,” she said in a statement.

In a press conference on Friday, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans revealed that there was no official briefing on the solid and liquid waste that was to be injected into sites in the county. By the time county officials heard about it, he said, some of the shipments had already been delivered.

“The fact that it’s here, and we haven’t been informed of the volume, we haven’t been informed of how it actually got here — Did it come by truck? Did it come by train? Did those transport vehicles, were they well-equipped to be able to deal with this?” Evans told journalists.

“The fact that many of these trucks, as I understand, trucks today, have come to Wayne County and Wayne County government not knowing that they’re coming, which way they’re coming, how safe the trucks are that are coming, is something that has got us all very irritated,” the official added.

According to DeWine, 15 truckloads of hazardous solid material were discarded in Michigan. Some hazardous liquid waste was disposed of in Texas.

Despite all they have managed to dispose of so far, DeWine said there is a huge amount of waste in the village.

“Currently, about 102,000 gallons of liquid waste and 4,500 cubic yards of solid waste remain in storage on site in East Palestine, not including the five truckloads returned to the village. Additional solid and liquid wastes are being generated as the cleanup progresses,” he said.

However, the waste that has not been sent out yet is not going anywhere, per an order by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which moved to stop the waste transferor pending the establishment of additional oversight measures to monitor the facilities where the waste is being transferred to.