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Vance Asks the Right Questions

State of the Union: Would Pete Buttigieg drink the water in East Palestine?

(Citizen Free Press/Twitter)

If there had been a controlled explosion of vinyl chloride in the village of East Ohio, Palestine, Pete Buttigieg would've brought the full force of the U.S. government to its aid. But East Ohio, Palestine, doesn't exist. Just East Palestine, Ohio.

And Buckeyes don't even pronounce it the way Brian Williams would. "Pal-e-steen," they call it.


Legacy and local media have not ignored the story as much as some online personalities claim, but federal agencies have been noticeably quiet. FEMA hasn’t said a word. And Pete Buttigieg broke his silence on the topic at 8:24 p.m. last night – strangely, minutes after Tucker had the state’s junior senator on the air to discuss his approach to dealing with the issue.

And Senator Vance is asking all the right questions. “Is the air and water safe for residents?… What are the needs of people on the ground?… Why did this happen?” He has taken a cautious tone on the environmental impact of the event, saying that preliminary tests have been promising while also encouraging residents to report evidence to the contrary.

During his Tucker spot, Vance asked,

Why is vinyl chloride showing up in the Ohio River in West Virginia and Cincinnati hundreds of miles away from where this accident took place?

Vance’s statement published yesterday notably lacks a sense of appreciation for FEMA, saying that local fire departments "need resources from FEMA to decontaminate equipment and ensure they continue to operate." The Times Leader, a local newspaper out of Martins Ferry, Ohio, reported that Republican Rep. Bill Johnson said that Governor Mike DeWine would have to declare a state of emergency for FEMA to get involved. In any case, FEMA did not respond to a request for comment from The American Conservative.

Now – eleven days after the derailment – there are more questions than answers: except for the people of East Palestine and the hamlets surrounding it. They looked up at the sky on February 6 and knew that they were standing in uninhabitable land. The people who have been evidently obsessed with ensuring the immune health of the American people for the past three years are the same ones telling the people of East Palestine that their drinking water is safe after an ecological disaster. And they’re right to wonder why.


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