(CNSNews.com) – EPA Administrator Michael Regan said Wednesday that he feels confident in the resources that the EPA has deployed to Palestine, Ohio, where a train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed on Feb. 3.
Vinyl chloride was released into the air through a controlled burn on Feb. 6, leading to concerns about air and water quality.
“Let me just say we have been on the ground since day one partnering with the state. We have to be transparent. We have to provide data. That’s what we’re doing. Listen, we have mobilized a very high-tech airplane. We mobilized mobile vans. We have stationary air monitoring and we’ve been in over 460 homes testing the air quality,” Regan told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”
“We’re gonna test 28 more homes today, and there will be 27 left that we’re trying to schedule those air quality tests. The data shows that there are no elevated levels and we’re relying heavily on that data and we want the community to know and have access to that data. As Governor Dewine suggested yesterday the state is doing water quality testing,” he said.
“The EPA is providing support for that water quality testing. For those homes that have not been tested, the state and governor are advising to remain on bottled water. We want to provide all of the resources we can to the state so they can test all of the water,” the EPA administrator said.
Regan said that he’s satisfied with the clean-up efforts so far.
“I feel very confident with the resources that we’ve deployed, and I will see this first-hand later this week,” the EPA administrator said.
“I wanted to be sure that we were not diverting any resources to addressing this issue on the ground, but yes, I want to see and verify for myself, but I have complete confidence in the partnership that’s been exhibited with the state leadership on water quality testing and our ability to support that water quality testing, and again the air quality monitoring data that we’re providing is done with the highest technologies available, air, mobile, and stationary air monitors to give us real-time data 24/7 so that we can ensure safety,” he said.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday that if he lived in the area, he would drink bottled water.
When asked whether he would feel comfortable returning to homes in Palestine, drinking the water, or letting his kids bathe in the water, Regan said, “Based on the results of those homes that have been tested, if those test results have come back and said that the air quality is okay and water is okay, I would remain in my home, and I would drink the water, but there are some homes that have not been tested for water quality, and for those homes, they should continue to use bottled water until the state comes in and tests that water.
“We have very solid data. Now we just have to be sure we’re transparent and get that data to the community who is rightfully concerned,” he said.
When asked whether he will commit to listening to “more and direct communication” with the residents of Palestine, the EPA administrator said, “The president has called the governor directly and offered all of our resources. We’ve been on the ground since day one offering all of our resources.
“Yes, we can commit that we will communicate effectively. We will communicate all of the results that we have. As a former state regulator, I also want to say that we’re also respecting the privacy that the state has in terms of leading in certain areas, and so together collectively, local, state and federal employees should be communicating responsibly. I can commit we’ll do that,” he said.
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