After receiving criticism for appearing to forsake the victims of the toxic train wreck in East Palestine, Ohio for a celebrity road trip, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan quietly canceled a trip with British actor Idris Elba to the African nations of Ghana and Sierra Leone set for this past Saturday that was to focus on ‘climate change’. Regan has spent just one day in East Palestine, last Thursday, since the train derailment February 3rd.
Michael Regan, official photo.
Regan tweeted about the visit, “Today I visited the site of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio — a terrible incident that has rightfully shaken this community to its core. But I want residents to know: @EPA will be here as long as it takes the ensure the health and safety of this community.”
Today I visited the site of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio — a terrible incident that has rightfully shaken this community to its core.
But I want residents to know: @EPA will be here as long as it takes the ensure the health and safety of this community. pic.twitter.com/xNSGduandy
— Michael Regan, U.S. EPA (@EPAMichaelRegan) February 16, 2023
“I had the privilege of meeting with Kristina — an East Palestine resident and one of the homes that @EPA screened for vinyl chloride or hydrogen chloride. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their home, and EPA is committed to testing all residents’ homes…To date, no detections of these chemicals have been identified at any of the nearly 500 homes we’ve screened. There are no barriers for East Palestine residents to get their homes tested by EPA, and we encourage folks to request a screening by calling 330-849-3919.”
To date, no detections of these chemicals have been identified at any of the nearly 500 homes we’ve screened.
There are no barriers for East Palestine residents to get their homes tested by EPA, and we encourage folks to request a screening by calling 330-849-3919.
— Michael Regan, U.S. EPA (@EPAMichaelRegan) February 16, 2023
The Grio reporter April Ryan reported last Thursday on the Africa trip in a fluff promo piece(excerpt):
EXCLUSIVE: Idris and Sabrina Elba join EPA on Africa trip to combat climate issues
The Elbas will join Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan on a U.S. delegation to Ghana and Sierra Leone.
Actor and humanitarian Idris Elba and his wife Sabrina Elba will accompany Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan on Saturday to sub-Saharan Africa, theGrio exclusively reports.
The NAACP and Golden Globe award-winning star, Mrs. Elba and Regan will travel to Ghana and Sierra Leone to focus on the issue of climate change and ways to combat its devastating ripple effects around the globe.
The EPA trip comes weeks before Vice President Kamala Harris’s anticipated Africa trip in late March. Several stops are expected; however, no specific destinations on the continent for the vice president have been confirmed as of yet.
Idris Elba applauds Harris’s upcoming trip to Africa, telling theGrio, “She’s a very powerful woman [and] respected across the continent by other very powerful women on the continent. So I think it will be a great trip for her.”
Elba himself has close ties to the African continent; his mother is from Ghana, and his father is from Sierra Leone. Sabrina Elba’s mother is from Somalia.
Sierra Leone is newly added to the roster of African countries actively engaged by the EPA on climate due to Elba’s advocacy. The Hollywood star approached Administrator Regan in December during President Joe Biden’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, where the Biden-Harris administration announced several upcoming trips by senior officials in 2023.
The original Grio report made no mention of the ongoing environmental disaster in East Palestine. An undated update appended at the top of the article mentions East Palestine as the reason cited by the EPA for the abrupt cancellation of Regan’s trip:
“Editor’s note: Since the publication of this report, EPA Administrator Micheal Regan has postponed his trip to Africa due to his department’s emergency response to the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, which has caused environmental concerns for its residents”.
Climate Depot’s Marc Morano slammed the Biden administration over the trip, “This aborted Africa trip is more evidence that the climate change issue has hijacked real environmental concerns! The entirety of the environmental movement has been obsessed with ‘climate change’ to the detriment of real green issues like pollution, clean air, and water. The Biden Admin and Sec. Pete has devoted themselves to wokeness and ‘climate change,’ and they are letting their real environmental duties, like addressing the toxic train derailment, fall to the wayside. It took Buttigieg 10 days to even talk about the derailment as he instead chose to talk about too many white construction workers. When your goal is climate change and renaming racist roads, real environmental protection gets ignored.”
Jeffrey Clark, who was appointed by President Trump to be the Justice Department’s Assistant Attorney General of the Environment and Natural Resources Division, criticized Regan for the the trip before it was canceled, “Which is it, EPA Admin. Regan? Are you on the scene here wielding all of EPA’s enormous powers or just punting this to Ohio? Guess you’re confused because you’ve got Hollywood Idris Elba’s trip w/ you to Africa on your mind.”
1/2 Which is it, EPA Admin. Regan? Are you on the scene here wielding all of EPA's enormous powers or just punting this to Ohio?
Guess you're confused because you've got Hollywood Idris Elba's trip w/ you to Africa on your mind.https://t.co/ctCq7wIF4ohttps://t.co/5CYsuwhM7Z pic.twitter.com/T00Dl2fVCR
— Jeff Clark (@JeffClarkUS) February 18, 2023
Regan posted Sunday afternoon, “Let me be clear: @EPA is not leaving East Palestine until the job is done and every resident feels safe in their home. And we will use our authority to hold Norfolk Southern accountable.”
Let me be clear: @EPA is not leaving East Palestine until the job is done and every resident feels safe in their home.
And we will use our authority to hold Norfolk Southern accountable. pic.twitter.com/lj5JbC7G86
— Michael Regan, U.S. EPA (@EPAMichaelRegan) February 19, 2023