Wait, were officials just pretending to drink the tap water in East Palestine?

“Tuck it or we’ll vote for the person who does it.”

security thirst

Residents of East Palestine, Ohio are rightly concerned about their health and safety after a Norfolk-Southern train derailed, spilling a slew of deadly chemicals into the environment.

After a brief cleanup, the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the state government and other agencies, have insisted air quality and drinking water are safe, despite reports of thousands of dead fish, dying animals and human disease.

And now, to prove their point and their alleged good faith, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and EPA Administrator Michael Regan have visited a resident’s home to personally drink her tap water — but something about that photo op seems clear to be little different.

“Would anyone like to drink the water?” the homeowner asks, and the officers all volunteer.

“We believe in science, so we don’t feel like we’re your guinea pigs, but we don’t mind proving to you that we believe the water is safe,” Regan assured.

After a toast, the two officials have a drink along with Congressman Bill Johnson — at least it seems so.

Although it’s hard to tell given the video quality, both DeWine (front left) and Regan (back center) appear to either barely drink the water or not drink it at all. At best, the Republican governor and EPA chief risk a cowardly drink or two and nothing more; They certainly don’t decide to drink whole cups. It’s possible they drank more off camera, but we’re only privy to what we can see in the footage.

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When asked about the allegations of sipping, a DeWine rep replied, “You’re kidding, aren’t you?” Regan didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Regardless, official and unofficial re-uploads of the photo op have been met with relentless ridicule online. In a Reddit thread, a popular comment referred to the charade as “Oscar material,” with many other users demanding that officials drink the entire glass.

“Chug it or we vote for the person that does,” wrote another.

While the Ohio EPA (not the federal agency) has conducted tests that have found the city’s drinking water to be safe, its accuracy has been questioned because the water sampling was performed by a company contracted by Norfolk Southern.

Independent experts have called the sampling methods “sloppy” and “extremely worrying” and have called for further testing before the water can be declared safe.

However, it’s worth noting that the Columbiana County Health District has sampled over 50 private wells separately so far and says it hasn’t found anything of concern.

But to further fuel general suspicion, Gov. DeWine received a $10,000 donation from Norfolk Southern just a month before the derailment, according to an investigation by Columbus-based news broadcaster WYSX.

Regardless of whether the tests are fake, many residents continue to feel insecure – and more convincing leadership is needed before they can feel comfortable in their own homes again.

Following the publication of this blog, DeWine’s spokesperson provided this additional statement:

The governor visited several homes that day with Congressman Johnson and EPA Administrator Regan. He drank tap water at each of them, as did the congressman and the administrator. The video shows this clearly.

I watched the video you link to. Your analysis of the water levels in the glass and chalice is off – far off.

Multiple water tests have confirmed that there are no traces of chemical concerns. This includes tests that are independent of Norfolk Southern. The physical location of the city’s wells — geologically remote from the site of the derailment and contamination — made it highly unlikely, if not impossible, for chemicals to leak into the water supply. Several tests have confirmed this.

If citizens have concerns about drinking water from the municipal system, bottled water is available if they wish to use it out of caution. However, the governor firmly believes that science has proven that the village’s water is safe to drink.

In the interests of the citizens of East Palestine, I suggest you stop sipping conspiratorial Kool-Aid.

More on the train derailment: There’s a super bizarre coincidence surrounding the Ohio train wreck

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