President Biden was jeered by dozens of protesters on Friday as he visited East Palestine, Ohio more than a year after the disastrous train derailment — as concerns mount over the long-term health and environmental effects on the community.

Dozens of area residents lined a commercial strip in the town with signs that said “Too Little Too Late,” “Dementia Joe You Gotta Go” and “Go home, Sleepy Joe!”

A pool reporter traveling in the motorcade noted that one angry protester “was giving the middle finger” while several more were “giving the thumbs down.”

President Biden visited East Palestine, Ohio, on Friday, more than one year after the Feb. 3, 2023 train derailment. AFP via Getty Images

At least two people carried pro-Biden signs, the pool reporter said, while others held up signs with pointed demands, such as “Declare the emergency,” “We need healthcare” and “We need aid.”

Biden, 81, made the Friday afternoon visit ahead of a weekend trip to his Rehoboth Beach, Del., vacation home — after taking heat for a full year for not visiting the town despite taking the time to visit many other areas in the country after tragedies or disasters.

The president’s election-year visit to East Palestine, which is about an hour west of Pittsburgh, finally occurred as detractors blasted him for keeping his distance from a community that had little perceptible political value to him.

Biden pinned the blame for the disaster on the Norfolk Southern train company during a brief six-minute statement after he arrived.

“While there are acts of God, this was an act of greed that was 100% preventable,” Biden said, before defending his administration’s response.

“Working with the state, we’ve tested the air, the water, the soil quality, deployed teams and health experts and provided emergency loans to local businesses. But it’s not done yet. There’s more to do,” the president said.

“Today I’m announcing the award of six National Institutes of Health grants to some of America’s best research universities to study the short- and long-term impacts what happened here. That includes just north of here Case Western University. So you’ll have a top researcher with you as long as you need.”

The Norfolk Southern train spilled toxic chemicals, causing the town’s residents to fear long-term health effects. AP
A dark cloud enveloped East Palestine following a controlled burn of chemicals. AP

East Palestine residents have reported various health complaints and expressed anxiety about the long-term effects of the disaster, including potentially increased cancer risks, for their community — though the federal Environmental Protection Agency has insisted they face no risks.

A dark cloud over the town — seen in widely circulated images of the disaster — followed a controlled burn of vinyl chloride, after 100,000 gallons of the carcinogen leaked.

The chemical can generate toxic highly toxic dioxins when burned.

The EPA said four other hazardous chemicals leaked during the derailment, including butyl acrylate, ethylhexyl acrylate, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether and isobutylene.

EPA administrator Michael Regan told reporters traveling to East Palestine that local health concerns are overstated and that the air and water are safe.

“I want to be clear that the monitoring that we’ve done of the municipal water, the private wells and the monitoring that we’ve done around the air quality demonstrates that there were no elevated levels of pollution exposure due to this derailment,” Regan said.

“We believe and know based on the science and the data that the air is safe.”

Regan insisted that “90 to 95% of the people of East Palestine are looking forward… and believe that their community is safe.”

Although many protesters in the town supported former President Donald Trump — who were seen carrying his campaign signs — Biden took heat from his political left as well.

“Why didn’t Biden visit East Palestine until over a year since the poisonous corporate disaster that upended their lives?” tweeted Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.

“The corporation responsible is a big campaign donor that gives more to Democrats than Republicans. You can’t work for the people if you’re bought by big money.”

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