The Situation in Palestine , OH
Release of hazardous materials into the air and water: The train was carrying hazardous materials, including propane, ethanol, and other chemicals, some of which were released into the air and water during the derailment. The derailment caused at least one tanker car to rupture and catch fire.
Evacuation orders and shelter-in-place advisories for nearby residents: Residents within a one-mile radius of the accident were ordered to evacuate, while those within a five-mile radius were advised to shelter in place. At least 1,000 people were evacuated.
Massive fire causing plumes of smoke and toxic fumes: The derailment caused a massive fire, which burned for several hours and released plumes of smoke and toxic fumes into the air. The fire was still burning the morning after the derailment.
Difficulty for emergency responders to access the scene: Emergency responders had difficulty accessing the scene due to the severity of the accident, the presence of hazardous materials, and the narrow, winding roads leading to the site.
Uncertain environmental impact and potential contamination of nearby water sources: The derailment spilled an unknown quantity of hazardous materials into nearby streams, and toxic chemicals may have seeped into the ground and contaminated nearby water sources. The environmental impact is still being assessed.
Uncertain long-term health effects on humans and wildlife: While the immediate health risks to local residents were deemed low, the long-term health effects of exposure to hazardous chemicals are still unknown. The derailment may have also had a detrimental effect on aquatic life in nearby streams.
Disruptions to daily life in the local community, including school closures and transportation disruptions: The derailment caused significant disruptions to daily life in the local community, including the closure of schools, roads, and businesses. Public transportation was also disrupted.
Substantial financial costs: The financial costs of the derailment, including damages to property and the cost of the emergency response, are likely to be substantial. The total cost is still being assessed, but it could be in the tens of millions of dollars.
A few days ago, the US Department of Energy said it had found the virus was most likely the result of a lab leak in Wuhan but could only reach that conclusion with “low confidence”.
In response to that, many scientists who have studied the virus said this week that there is no new scientific evidence pointing to a lab leak.
A natural origin is still the more likely theory, said Professor David Robertson, head of viral genomics and bioinformatics at University of Glasgow.
“There’s been an accumulation of evidence (what we know about the viruses biology, the close variants circulating in bats and locations of early human cases) that firmly points to a natural origin centred on the Huanan market in Wuhan city,” he said.
On Monday, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that US President Joe Biden supports “a whole-of-government effort” to discover how Covid began.
“We’re just not there [at consensus] yet,” he said. “If we have something that is ready to be briefed to the American people and the Congress, we will do that.”
Tensions in bilateral ties between the US and China have spiked in the wake of the recent spy balloon saga.
A bipartisan panel of US lawmakers this week kicked off a series of hearings on the “existential” threat of the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
The first session of the House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party focused on issues such as human rights and the US economy’s dependence on Chinese manufacturing.