Following a brief pause, toxic waste shipments from the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment are anticipated to resume, according to environmental officials.
The incident on February 3 resulted in the derailing of 38 cars, 11 of which were hauling dangerous goods.
Waste from the derailment site, both liquid and solid, is currently being transported to specialized facilities.
Despite ongoing worries from residents, officials said over the weekend that the town's air quality is normal.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on February 25 that it had ordered a temporary suspension of shipments of contaminated waste from the site.
Stopping the shipments, according to Debra Shore, an EPA regional administrator, would enable officials to "ensure that all waste is disposed of in a safe and legal manner" at authorized facilities. Waste had already been transported to Texas and Michigan facilities.
Ms. Shore announced on Sunday that the EPA intended to start transporting liquid waste to an underground injection well and solid waste to an incinerator. There are two facilities in Ohio.
She told reporters, "All of this is great news for the people of East Palestine and the local community because it means cleanup can proceed quickly.
The air quality both inside and outside is normal, according to screenings and air monitoring, Ms. Shore added.
The announcement was made two days after residents of East Palestine and environmental activist Erin Brockovich demanded that the government give more explanations for why people continue to report feeling unwell following the derailment at a town hall meeting.
They have coughs and respiratory issues, so they're worried, Ms. Brockovich told the BBC's US partner, CBS. There are a lot of unanswered questions, and both parties are aware that this is not the end of the conversation. " .
In the US, the derailment and the subsequent response have become a divisive political issue, with lawmakers from opposing political parties trading accusations of fault.
Republicans in the House of Representatives intend to launch investigations into the derailment, according to US news organizations such as Axios and CNN.
To "provide transparency" regarding the incident, Kentucky Republican James Comer, the head of the House Oversight and Accountability committee, wrote to Pete Buttigieg, the secretary of transportation, last week. While Mr. Buttigieg was in East Palestine meeting with residents and investigators, the letter arrived.
Additionally, Mr. Comer charged that the Department of Transportation was "lackadaisical" and made "blame-shifting efforts.".
A hearing on the derailment will be held, according to plans made public by the Environment and Public Works committee members in the Senate. When the hearing will happen is not yet known.
US President Joe Biden has been forced to defend his administration's handling of the matter on numerous occasions as a result of growing public scrutiny of the government's response to the derailment.
Mr. Biden claimed last week that "I have spoken with every single major figure in both Pennsylvania and Ohio.". "The notion that we are not engaged simply does not exist.