Michael Regan, the Director of the EPA, has reportedly chosen to postpone an upcoming climate change trip slated to go to Africa alongside celebrity couple Sabrina and Idris Elba due to the active fallout surrounding the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment.
Both state and local authorities previously elected to order the evacuation of all residents that were living within a one-mile radius of the crash site and initiated a controlled burn of the highly corrosive industrial chemical that the train cars had been carrying in order to lower the risk of an explosion which would have had enough force to hurl shrapnel across the small town. The main chemical being transported was Vinyl Chloride, a chemical known to be highly carcinogenic to humans that is used in the making of PVC, was leaked out of a total of five train cars in the form of giant plumes of dark acrid smoke which was dense enough to be seen all across both western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio.
Previously, Regan was slated to pay a visit to sub-Saharan Africa alongside the Elbas, as expressed in a report from The Grio. One note from the editor tagged to the header of the article now clarifies that Regan postponed the trip “due to his department’s emergency response to the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, which has caused environmental concerns for its residents.”
With a mother hailing from Ghana and whose father is known to be from Sierra Leone, Idris Elba was expected to pay a visit to the two countries with his wife and the senior Biden administration official in order to take note of the purported impact of the climate change impacting the region. Sabrina Elba explained to the outlet that she and her husband reached out to Regan, who is the first black person to lead the EPA, regarding climate and Africa throughout a summit in Washington at the end of this past year and highlighted “the good work that he’s doing and the plan he’s developed.”
Regan made the trip out to East Palestine this past week as the drastic criticism targeting the White House for offering shockingly low levels of attention to the crisis. The EPA stated to Norfolk Southern, who is the company at the cent of the derailment incident, this past Tuesday that the firm is responsible for cleaning up all of the heavily contaminated water and soil, reimburse the EPA for all cleaning services that will be given to the residents and businesses, and attend all public meetings in order to update the town’s residents about the ongoing cleanup process. The agency also made the threat to “immediately step in, conduct the necessary work, and then seek to compel Norfolk Southern to pay triple the cost” if the company fails to take care of the various cleanup actions.
“The Norfolk Southern train derailment has upended the lives of East Palestine families, and EPA’s order will ensure the company is held accountable for jeopardizing the health and safety of this community,” expressed Regan in a release. “Let me be clear: Norfolk Southern will pay for cleaning up the mess they created and for the trauma they’ve inflicted on this community.”