Feb 16, 2023 - Energy & Environment

Ohio governor asks for help from federal health agencies in East Palestine

Smoke rises from a derailed cargo train in East Palestine, Ohio, on February 4, 2023.

Smoke rises from a derailed cargo train in East Palestine, Ohio, on Feb. 4, 2023. Photo: Dustin Franz/AFP via Getty Images

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said Thursday that he has requested additional federal assistance — including from health agencies — over the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, that resulted in the venting and burning of carcinogenic chemicals.

Driving the news: DeWine said he made the request after speaking with the White House Thursday morning. Earlier in the week, he said Biden had offered to provide "anything you need" but he had "not called him back after that conversation" but he would "not hesitate to do that if we're seeing a problem or anything but I’m not seeing it."

The latest: DeWine said he requested assistance from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Health and Emergency Response Team and the CDC.

  • He said his administration has been in daily contact with FEMA about additional federal support.
  • "FEMA continues to advise that Ohio is not eligible for assistance at this time," DeWine said Thursday. "I will continue working with FEMA to determine what assistance can be provided."
  • Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) sent a letter to DeWine Thursday asking that the governor declare the derailment a disaster "to ensure the community has all the resources they need" and drive more federal funds to the area.

The big picture: The Environmental Protection Agency is continuing to the monitor the air throughout East Palestine.

  • The agency said Sunday it had yet to find any "levels of concern" of hazardous substances released during or after the crash.
  • DeWine said Wednesday that the water city's municipal system is safe to drink.

Go deeper: What we know about the Ohio train derailment

Go deeper