For now, DeWine nixes disaster declaration idea for East Palestine
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine won’t be declaring East Palestine a disaster area unless such a declaration can bring federal assistance to the village as it recovers from the Norfolk Southern derailment, fire, and chemical spill.
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown sent a letter to DeWine calling on the governor to declare a disaster to obtain more federal resources and aid to the town.
The Governor’s office announced on Thursday that the state is not currently eligible for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Spokesman for DeWine, Dan Tierney told 21 News that under federal law, FEMA assists disaster-stricken communities pay for property damage not covered by insurance or another entity.
Tierney says that the derailment did not cause major property damage in the village, and so far, Norfolk Southern has been paying for environmental testing and other needs like bottled water.
According to Tierney, DeWine will revisit the idea of a disaster declaration if circumstances change that would make the area eligible for other federal aid.
DeWine said in a statement that he spoke with the White House on Thursday and has requested assistance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health and Emergency Response Team, and the CDC to provide on-the-ground assistance in the village.
Government Health Agencies are expected to help monitor the health of residents in the area impacted by the chemical leak and fire.
Tierney said that as of Thursday, the governor’s office has not received any such reports.