(CNSNews.com) – The water is safe to drink for those home in East Palestine, Ohio, that have been tested and the data shows that those homes are safe, but those who rely on well water should have their wells tested, EPA Administrator Michael Regan told Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom” on Friday.
“I have to say I’m thankful for the emergency responders including my EPA staff that were on the ground hours after the train derailment and have been there since,” said Regan a day after visiting the region on Thursday two weeks after the derailment.
“I think we have to be responsible here and understand when you bring in a senior official especially at the cabinet level you divert a pull away resources from the emergency response, from the state police and the like. So we wanted to be sure that the emergency responders had all the resources and focus to do what they’ve done,” the administrator said.
“Thankfully no loss of life, no injuries, and that is because emergency responders and local officials were able to focus on the job and not visitations. Yesterday was a great day for me to visit the derailment site. I spent time at a local creek. I spent time in a home, a community member’s home, and so we’ve been there since day one, I want to stress. We’ve been there since day one,” he said.
As to whether the air is safe, Regan said, “You know, from day one we have deployed advance technologies, aerial technologies, a mobile van. We have stationary air monitors all around the community, and we’ve tested the indoor air quality for close to 500 homes. We have not detected any elevated levels, and the air is safe to breathe.
“For our homes that have not been tested, and if there are folks who are skeptical, I ask that you reach out to EPA. Go to our website East Palestine is on our home page. Click on that site and access the information if you want your home tested, we will test your home. There are no barriers to EPA testing your home,” he said.
When asked whether the water is safe, Regan said, “You know, I trust Governor DeWine. The state has primacy, and the state is leading in this recovery and the state is leading in testing the water, and as the governor said, if your water has been tested by the state, we believe it is safe to drink.
“If your water has not been tested, if your well has not been tested, I implore everyone to reach out to the state. Get your water tested, and until it is tested as the governor has directed, continue to rely on bottled water. I have confidence in the partnership that EPA has with the state of Ohio, and if there are concerns reach out to state and local officials, and we’ll accommodate those tests,” he said.
Fox News host Bill Hemmer said, “You just said the air is safe. I didn’t hear a conclusive answer on the water. Are you saying it’s safe or do you know?”
“The drinking water is safe for those homes that have been tested and the data proves that those homes are safe. There are as you know many people that rely on well water. I ask that if you rely on well water, have those wells tested. The state is ready to test those wells, but until then, continue to drink bottled water until you get that approval or that green light from the state,” Regan said.
“The drinking water is safe for those homes that have been tested and the data proves that those homes are safe. There are as you know many people that rely on well water. I ask that if you rely on well water, have those wells tested. The state is ready to test those wells, but until then, continue to drink bottled water until you get that approval or that green light from the state,” he said.
When asked whether the order for residents to return home after the derailment was given too soon, the EPA administrator said, “You know, state and local officials consulted with both the Governor DeWine and Governor Shapiro of Pennsylvania. They made the determination that they could return back to home based on local data as well as data we provided from an air quality standpoint.
“The state has primacy. They are leading. I trust the decisions that the state is making, and we are there to support the state and provide the resources to continue to be there for as long as we need to,” he said. “I really need to stress that we’re with the community, and we’ll be there.”
“I trust Governor DeWine’s decision. We provided all of the data in terms of the air quality, and so when they ordered that return home, we trust that the air was safe for those that returned home, and again, for those whose water was tested and given the green light, it was safe to drink,” Regan said.
“For those who have yet to have been tested or when they were ordered to go back home and their water hadn’t been tested, I think the governor has stressed they should rely on bottled water. I think it’s fair to say whether it’s congressman Johnson or Governor DeWine or EPA Administrator Michael Regan we’re gonna hold Norfolk Southern accountable for this mess. We’re gonna be there, and we’re gonna see this through,” he said.
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