Texas, Michigan officials say they weren't warned before receiving contaminated Ohio soil, water
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered the transport of waste to be halted pending additional oversight measures.
Officials in Texas and Michigan said they were not informed before their states received shipments of contaminated water and soil from East Palestine, Ohio, where a train derailed with toxic chemicals and caused a public health and environmental crisis earlier this month.
Norfolk Southern, the rail company leading cleanup efforts after its train carrying vinyl chloride derailed Feb. 3, had contracted with licensed waste disposal facilities in Texas and Michigan to dispose of hazardous waste from the Ohio derailment, Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) said Saturday.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), whose district includes part of Harris County where some of the waste is being disposed of, tweeted Saturday: "This process of dumping toxic waste in communities without prior notice to local cities and counties has to stop."
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered the transport of waste to be halted pending additional oversight measures, the Ohio governor also said Saturday.
Twenty truckloads of hazardous solid waste weighing approximately 280 tons have been hauled away from the derailment site, and 15 of the truckloads were disposed of in Michigan while five were returned to East Palestine, officials said.
The liquid waste that has already left the Ohio village will be disposed of in Texas, but no additional liquid waste will be sent there at this time.
"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," DeWine said.
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) also said her office was not alerted about the East Palestine waste being disposed of in her state.
"We were not given a heads up on this reported action. Our priority is to always keep the people we represent safe," she said Friday.
The concerns about the soil being relocated come as the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said more than 43,700 aquatic animals, mostly small minnows, were killed from the derailment so far.