Biden to East Palestine, Ohio: Blame Norfolk Southern, not Me!

Freight train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio in February 2023. Image source: National Transportation Safety Board via WIkimedia Commons

A year after the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio that caused massive evacuations and immeasurable air and soil pollution, Joe Biden finally made an appearance to address residents of the area. Community members, who faced temporary displacement from their homes and ongoing medical problems in the wake of the toxic chemical spill have thus far received non-answers from government agencies and Norfolk Southern (the private rail company) about why this happened in the first place and how it will be prevented in the future.

Biden continued that trend during his visit to East Palestine: “[T]his was an act of greed that was 100 percent preventable…Norfolk Southern failed its responsibility…My administration ordered Norfolk Southern to clean up the mess it created and ensure it was done right.” His message reads more like a child making excuses for an accident rather than ‘fessing up and explaining why the government and companies are incentivized to cut corners to increase profit. What else can the rulers of the U.S. say, when they are responsible for upholding and maintaining the power of massive corporations, while trying to convince their constituents that we matter to them?

Biden went on to list all of the safety precautions that should be implemented, as if he is not in a position of power to bring about such changes. The politicians will not protect us, and neither will the decision makers at rail companies like Norfolk Southern. Working-class people need to fight for what we need.