Norfolk Southern, the train operator responsible for the toxic derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, received approval from the Environmental Protection Agency to resume shipments of contaminated soil and water from the town after removals were paused for review.
The EPA, according to CNN, froze movement of the hazardous waste while it reviewed the company's disposal plans for the materials after receiving complaints from officials in Michigan and Texas.
A Michigan official told CNN that neither she nor Governor Gretchen Whitmer were aware of toxic shipments coming to their state, similar to Harris County, Texas, Chief Executive Lina Hidalgo, who said she learned about the shipments to her state through the media. Roughly 500,000 gallons of contaminated water were already in Texas when Hidalgo reached out to governing body Texas Molecular. Two million gallons were set to be sent there.
"It doesn't seem quite right," Hidalgo mentioned.
Ohio sent 20 truckloads of hazardous waste to Belleville, Michigan; 15 stayed, and five were sent back to East Palestine.
“I called everybody,” said U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell regarding the shipments. "Nobody had really been given a heads-up that they were coming here.”
About 102,000 gallons of liquid waste and 4,500 cubic yards of solid waste remained in storage on site in East Palestine, as shipments are set to resume to two locations in Ohio, to two EPA-certified facilities.
“Some of the liquid wastes will be sent to a facility in Vickery, Ohio, where it will be disposed of in an underground injection well,” EPA regional administrator Debra Shore said at a news conference.
“Norfolk Southern will also begin shipping solid waste to the Heritage Incinerator in East Liverpool, Ohio," she added.
According to reports, a team of 19 agents from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been collecting information about symptoms from local citizens.
Federal teams going door-to-door claim that they have performed air quality testing at over 500 homes and have found zero contaminants.
Environmental activist Erin Brockovich recently appeared on "Tucker Carlson Tonight," calling the messaging from officials "horribly confusing and extremely frustrating."
"You have dead fish: might not be good for humans. You have dead animals: might not be good for humans," Brockovich continued. "You’ve sent a horrible mixed message to this community. Drink the water. Don’t drink the water. Safe. Not safe," the activist added.
So far, the National Transportation Safety Board says that while the train derailment was “100% preventable,” the three crew members aboard the train are not alleged to have committed any errors.