EPA slams reports claiming agency buried info on early dioxin detection after East Palestine derailment
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is pushing back on some news reports that came out after a watchdog organization claimed it uncovered more than 1,500 Pages of East Palestine dioxin-related testing buried on an EPA website.
In a message posted on an EPA website devoted to the derailment and its aftermath, the EPA called reporting on the issue “inaccurate” and “mischaracterizes” the EPA’s response and commitment to transparency.
At issue is a February 1, press release from the Government Accountability Project, which bills itself as the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization.
The report claimed that Norfolk Southern and their consultants sampled soil and water and found elevated levels of dioxin and other dangerous compounds in East Palestine as early as February 9, 2023, just six days after the fiery derailment and chemical spill.
The Government Accountability Project reported that although the EPA claimed the dioxin levels in the community were, “at first non-existent and then safe, along with other chemicals, for residents, these documents are evidence that Arcadis performed dioxin and other chemical testing as early as February 9th that showed concerning levels of these chemicals.”
In its response, the EPA said it began publicly sharing data about dioxins at the site as early as March 2023, at community meetings and on its webpage in the spring.
“The dioxin and furan levels that were detected are not unusual for this type of waste,” said the EPA in its response. “Additionally, EPA has sent this data to several requestors over the past year, including local community groups.”
The EPA says that its air monitoring conducted before, during, and after the vent and burn, gave the agency no reason to believe that dioxins posed a threat to the community.
The EPA says data from the testing, which was conducted testing at a request from the community, was shared with the public and posted to the EPA’s webpage in May 2023.