Republican Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance argued Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan should be willing to drink the tap water near the site of the recent East Palestine train derailment and fire if he wanted to claim it is safe.
The Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern freight train derailment caused a large fire, with authorities conducting a “controlled vent and burn” to avoid a “catastrophic” explosion, according to ABC News.
Vance said Thursday said thought he would not drink the tap water for now if he lived in the area and would instead use the freely-provided bottled water, arguing, “I think that if the EPA administrator wants to stand here and tell people that the tap water is safe, by all means, they should be willing to drink it.”
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The EPA said in a letter to Norfolk Southern that the train contained evidence of ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, the carcinogen ethlyhexyl acrylate and isobutylene, according to WKBX, in addition to reported vinyl chloride and hydrogen chloride.
During his Thursday visit to New Palestine, Regan said EPA air monitoring had “not detected any levels of health concern in the community. He said drinking water is safe, according to CBS News, but noted that the Ohio Department of Health has recommended residents use bottled water until water test results are received.
“If the EPA said that my air quality was safe, and the state said that the water has been tested and the water quality is safe, that I would trust those readings, and yes, I would re-enter my home,” Regan claimed. “Now, obviously there are people who would make different decisions based on their means, and if people want to go different places and want more assurances or want time to pass a little bit, they have a right to do that.”
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