Ohio Gov DeWine responds to JD Vance chemical spill video, confirms section of stream is 'severely contaminated'

"A section of Sulfur Run that is very near the crash site remains severely contaminated. We knew this. We know this. It's going to take a while to remediate this," the governor said to reporters.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Friday responded to a viral video from fellow Republican Sen. JD Vance, which showed rainbow-colored chemical spillage in a creek in East Palestine as a result of the Norfolk Southern Railroad derailment two weeks ago.

"I know that there's been some video played on TV circulating of visible contamination in one of the local waterways," DeWine said during a press conference covered by Fox News, referring to Vance's video posted to Twitter on Thursday. The senator had taken a trip to the Leslie Run stream, which runs into Sulphur Run creek, in northeastern Ohio on Monday to see the environmental catastrophe for himself, and shared his disturbing findings with his constituents and followers.

"A section of Sulfur Run that is very near the crash site remains severely contaminated. We knew this. We know this. It's going to take a while to remediate this," the governor said to reporters.

According to DeWine, a portion of the stream that is polluted with the vinyl chloride and other harmful chemicals that spilled from the derailed train cars and the subsequent "controlled" disposal of the toxic contaminants has been dammed in two places in order to protect other waterways. The governor assured the press that he had teams pumping clean water from one side of the dam to the other to avoid mixing it with the pollution.

"This allows clean water to bypass the area of the derailment and prevents clean water from picking up contaminants and carrying them into other waterways," DeWine said. "The remediation of the water in the direct area of the spill is going to take some time, just as it is taking some time to deal with the dirt."

"This is not a simple process. We're encouraging people to continue to avoid that area," he added.

The video in question was posted by Vance after seeing the oil-slick-like material in the Leslie Run creek, which joins the Sulfur Run creek in East Palestine according to Fox.

"There are dead worms and dead fish all throughout this water," said the senator to the camera.

He took a stick and used it to stir the water, revealing the multi-colored chemicals "coming out of the ground." 

"This is disgusting," said Vance.

On Monday, Vance issued a vow to get to the bottom of the Norfolk Southern train derailment and chemical burn that led to the contamination when the toxic chemicals were released from the train carts to reduce the threat of an explosion. Already, locals have reported that thousands of fish, as well as domesticated chickens and foxes, have died from exposure to the pollutants. 

"Like every Ohioan," Vance wrote, "I'm horrified by the Norfolk Southern train crash in East Palestine and the images we've seen coming from Northeast Ohio. One week ago, local and state officials determined that to avoid a catastrophic explosion a controlled release of vinyl chloride would take place. This release is the source of the frightening plumes of black smoke that have made their way around social media. While those plumes of smoke are now gone, many questions remain."

"Is the air and water safe for residents? So far, we have been told that air and drinking water tests performed by the state and federal Environmental Protection Agencies, the Ohio National Guard, and Norfolk Southern have been encouraging. We continue to monitor environmental reports from multiple agencies about the quality of the air and water in the region. I have heard alarming anecdotes about contaminated waterways and effects on wildlife. I encourage anyone with credible reports of environmental harms to contact my office. In the meantime, we will continue to engage with the relevant agencies and monitor the situation in the region," the senator said.

Later in the statement, he said that he is ​​"dedicated to ensuring that the relevant authorities do not use tests conducted as a permission slip to pack up and go home."

"This is a complex environmental disaster with impacts that may be difficult to assess in the short term. Long-term study will be imperative. As will long-term commitment to remediation by Norfolk Southern for the property damaged, the wildlife disrupted, and the community scarred by this accident," he said.

"As always, my office stands ready to aid constituents facing pressing needs in the wake of this disaster," Vance concluded.

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