Mike Kelly calls on EPA to expand one-mile radius around East Palestine derailment site
Pennsylvania Congressman, Mike Kelly sent a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator, Michael Regan on Thursday demanding the EPA expand the one-mile radius around the East Palestine train derailment site.
Kelly is calling on this expansion in order for more Pennsylvanians to be eligible for federal air, water and soil testing. As it stands, the one-mile radius only allows for 22 homes in Beaver County to receive assistance.
However, Lawrence County is a mere three miles from the derailment site.
Last week, Kelly hosted a round table in Lawrence County with local officials who expressed concern about the lack of air, water and soil quality testing in the county.
"The people of Lawrence County demand answers now. They deserve to know if their well water is safe to drink and if their soil is safe to plant ahead of the upcoming farming season," Kelly said.
Kelly went on to discuss recent findings from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources estimating over 43,000 aquatic animals, mostly fish, were killed within five miles of the derailment.
"The evidence has shown that wildlife has been negatively impacted by chemicals and hazardous materials for miles around the crash site. Local residents have expressed serious concern that their own land and water may be as well," Kelly said.
At the end of his letter, Kelly requests Regan to respond with answers to the following questions by March 15.
- Has the EPA considered expanding air monitoring and water quality testing outside of the one-mile radius? If so, will you be making those results available to the public? If not, how does the EPA know there is not contamination outside of the initial one-mile radius if no testing has been conducted?
- Will the EPA commit to making all air, water, and soil testing free to those living and/or working in the impacted radius?
- Does the EPA have a comprehensive plan to conduct free and extensive soil testing? If so, will the EPA be reviewing the one provided by Norfolk Southern?
- Does the EPA have full access to monitoring data that OEPA, PA DEP, and Norfolk Southern are gathering?
- Is there a coordinated plan to recognize and mitigate any issues identified through monitoring?
- Does EPA have plans to release the data collected from air and water testing?
- Does EPA have the resources necessary to continue providing assistance to OEPA and PA DEP?