EPA tells states not to block hazardous waste shipments from Ohio derailment
The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday he was notifying states they cannot block shipments of hazardous waste from a Feb. 3 Ohio train derailment to licensed disposal sites.
A Norfolk Southern (NSC.N) operated train in East Palestine, Ohio derailed carrying hazardous materials. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt said earlier this week he had blocked a shipment of hazardous waste from the Ohio site to a facility in the state.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan said “any attempts to impede interstate shipments of hazardous waste threatens the integrity of the system.” He said the Oklahoma site has a permit to receive the waste.
Regan said he would hold Norfolk Southern fully accountable and demanded it seek to enforce its contracts to dispose of contaminated materials from the site.
“EPA will take all actions to ensure the safe hazardous waste handing continues across this country,” he told reporters. “We expect Norfolk Southern to execute and implements its contracts and hold contractees accountable for receipt of this waste.”
Regan said to date the railroad has excavated nearly half of contaminated soil from the tracks and transported 6.8 million gallons of liquid waste and 5,400 tons of solid waste. Regan estimated it would take another three months to complete the site cleanup.
“EPA ordered Norfolk Southern to clean up the mess it made — and no one should impede or prevent this cleanup as we return East Palestine to the beautiful community residents know it to be,” he said.
Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw has said the railroad is fully committed to cleaning the site and will testify next week before the Senate Commerce Committee.
On Tuesday, the state of Ohio sued Norfolk Southern over the derailment that released over a million gallons of hazardous materials and pollutants.