Exclusive — Ohio Sen. Michael Rulli: ‘I’m Begging You Not to Drink the Water’ in East Palestine; ‘It Is Not Safe’

HEPACO workers observe a stream in East Palestine, Ohio, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023 as the cle
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Ohio Sen. Michael Rulli (R-Salem) told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Saturday that anyone living within ten miles of East Palestine should not drink or bathe in the water. “It is not safe,” Rulli affirmed.

“Anyone within ten miles, I am begging you not to drink the water. I am begging you not to bathe in the water. It is not safe,” Rulli told Breitbart News Washington Bureau Chief Matthew Boyle on Saturday.

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“Now that we’ve had this disaster, and fortunately for us, no one got killed on the initial explosion, but we got to worry about cancer in the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years,” Rulli continued.

“So what I’m suggesting is that everyone goes as far away as you can and get a hotel room,” he added. “We got people that are fighting with Norfolk Southern. Norfolk says they’re going to pay for it. We got to hold their feet to the fire.”

The state senator went on to say that “nobody showed up” within the first days of the train derailment.

“In all fairness to the governor, he sent some really nice crews down there that were working on it, but the feds were nowhere to be found,” Rulli said.

“We’re day 14 and [Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)] just comes yesterday, and then the FEMA guy came the day before and he’s telling everyone to drink the water,” Rulli continued. “I mean, give me a break. These are my people. These are the people I go to church with.”

“We brought in six trailer loads of water two days ago. I got four more trailer loads coming down on Tuesday,” he added.

Rulli also noted that there are “over 48 farms within an eight-mile radius of ground zero, and no one’s even talked about doing the soil samples there. So these guys haven’t even put the seed in the ground, and they’re about to lose millions of dollars.”

“I got quite the problem over here in my district,” the state senator declared.

Rulli, who lives just 16 miles from ground zero, also noted that he has “been down there five times in the last 13 days.”

“Every time I leave there I get a sore throat,” he said. “And I have a sore throat for the rest of the day. The next day it starts clearing up, but it is what it is.”

At another point in the interview, the state senator said that it felt like “a zombie apocalypse” when he was at ground zero the Sunday after the train derailment.

Rulli also described what the scene looked like at the command center in an East Palestine elementary school after the train derailment, but before the controlled detonation, which created the now-infamous dark plume of smoke in the sky, captured in photographs that were later circulated across social media:

At the elementary school, which is about a half mile from ground zero, you got 100 cops. You got 100 Army. You got EPA. You got OCSEA. You got ODNR. You got Wildlife. You got all kinds of people. When you first walk in, to the right side, they have this command center where they have these two huge screen TVs, and what they did is they brought remote control robots right up on the five cars that were of most danger. And they had a livestream TV.

And then right before that they had the temperature. They placed the temperature gauge inside each one of those five [train cars]. And when I was there on Sunday, it was 139. On Saturday night it was 154. On Monday [February 6], which is the day that the governor decided to do the controlled detonation, it was at 146. If those five cars reach 18o to 185, they explode. We had 39,000 gallons of diesel gasoline and other lubricants right next to it, and there’s an oil company right there. If that all blows up, the whole town’s gone, because this is the same type of bombs that we used when we dropped on Dresden in Germany.

“So, the governor was forced, and there’s a lot of discrepancy whether that was the right move. I was there. I think it sort of was the right move,” Rulli said.

A black plume and fireball rise over East Palestine, Ohio, as a result of a controlled detonation of a portion of the derailed Norfolk Southern trains Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

A black plume and fireball rise over East Palestine, Ohio, as a result of a controlled detonation of a portion of the derailed Norfolk Southern trains Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Boyle noted that it was announced FEMA would be deployed to East Palestine right after it was revealed that former President Donald Trump plans to visit the small Ohio town next week.

“I would imagine that that’s the Biden administration responding to Trump,” Boyle said, to which Rulli replied, “It sure looks like it, doesn’t it?”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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