(LibertySociety.com) – The Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, after ten days of silence, finally popped in on February 14 to discuss some ways in which the department is trying to address rail safety. In his Twitter thread, he mentioned that they were “constrained by law” in some areas, notably due to the rollback of a braking rule during the Trump era due to a 2015 legislation. Recently, the Chair of the National Transportation Safety Board released a Twitter thread to clarify some crucial information.
Although she didn’t name Buttigieg specifically, his tweet is what sparked a “but Trump” narrative online and even on mainstream news channels. The chair of NTSB, Jennifer Homendy, tweeted a long thread about the derailment, specifically mentioning the braking rule and how some people were claiming it would have prevented the disaster. She called this false and said the braking rule would not have made a difference in this situation anyways. The reason for that is because the braking rule would have only applied to what she referred to as “HIGH HAZARD FLAMMABLE TRAINS,” and that the train that derailed in Ohio did not fall under that category. Homendy asked for people to stop spreading “misinformation” to a community that is suffering.
On Friday, February 17th, 2023, the Biden administration deployed Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to the site of the derailment to conduct testing and other types of assessments. Another agency will be contacting members of the community to assess toxic effects from the chemical exposure. Multiple videos on social media have shown an iridescence of the water in creeks, including one from Senator J.D. Vance when he visited East Palestine on February 16th, 2023. The Biden administration has stated that the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as Secretary Buttigieg’s DOT were there within hours of the derailment.
On February 21, Buttigieg addressed criticism about his initial lack of public response to the disaster, admitting he “could have spoken sooner.” According to CBS News, he said he had been focusing on ensuring his “folks on the ground” were good to go, but that he learned his lesson.
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