September 24, 2023

Top Line

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee launched an investigation Friday into Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s response to this month’s train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, an allegation that residents of the small town say was an environmental disaster. The disaster is underway, with partisan tensions rising. ,

important facts

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Panel sent Buttigieg Letter The five parts of the documents requested Friday include all records “regarding your public response to the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment” and “communications sufficient to know about the train derailment.” “

The letter asks for all information to be submitted by March 10 at the latest, although the message does not say it is a subpoena, which would legally require Buttigieg to hand over the documents.

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The signatories include committee chairman Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and firebrand Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).

The Department of Transportation did not immediately respond to a request for comment. forbesBut Buttigieg, during his first visit to eastern Palestine on Thursday, said he wished he could talk about the disaster “sooner” than his tweet a week and a half after the incident, and defended his decision to wait three weeks. Did. Go as the following “norm”.

important quotes

“As Secretary of Transportation, you must provide transparency to the American public in this matter. Instead, you have attempted to blame others for infrastructure that falls within the purview of DOT’s responsibilities,” the letter says.

main background

About 40 rail cars on a Norfolk Southern-operated train were derailed and a dozen damaged near East Palestine on February 3, causing fires and spewing hundreds of thousands of gallons of hazardous chemicals into the surrounding area. Evacuation was ordered for nearby residents as authorities conducted a controlled combustion of the toxic chemicals three days later, causing a cloud of black smoke that briefly rose over eastern Palestine. The Environmental Protection Agency said this week there are no signs of air quality problems, while Ohio officials say the water is safe to drink, but residents have insisted at public meetings where they criticized officials and Norfolk Southern’s leadership. grilled that they are Behaviour With health problems as a result of the derailment. The EPA has ordered Norfolk Southern to fully cover the cost of the cleanup.

amazing facts

Former President Donald Trump visited eastern Palestine on Wednesday, distributing pallets of “Trump water” to the community as he urged President Joe Biden to “come back from his Ukraine tour” to visit the region. The White House has not yet said whether Biden plans to visit East Palestine. Republican officials and right-wing commentators have criticized the White House response to the disaster, claiming that the silence of top officials immediately after the train derailment is another sign of Democrats ignoring the so-called Rust Belt region, even though same federal worker Were Instant response after derailment. speech message Outside “Forgotten Americans” have been key to Republicans’ recent dominance of blue-collar communities such as East Palestine. Columbiana County—home to East Palestine—was carried by single-digit margins in presidential elections in the 2000s, but Trump won the county in 2020 by nearly 45 percentage points.


The White House has pointed out that Trump attempted to undermine the EPA and withdrew a proposal in 2018 that would have mandated more advanced braking systems on trains carrying certain toxic chemicals. Trump said on Wednesday that he had nothing to do with any relaxation of rail safety guidelines.

what we don’t know

A preliminary report released Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board did not determine a definitive cause of the derailment, but it did mention a wheel scorched more than 250 degrees, which triggered an alarm to alert the train crew. Gave. The wheel bearing failed after the train attempted to slow down. The report found no wrongdoing on the part of the crew.

big number

over 43,000. There are so many animals in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources believes that Death due to derailment.

Buttigieg Grilled in East Palestine: Criticism of Trump as Derailment Sparks Partisan Feud (Forbes)

EPA orders Norfolk Southern to pay for cleanup after devastating Ohio train derailment (Forbes)

Ohio train derailment: Crew received alerts about overheated wheel bearings and applied emergency brakes, officials say (Forbes)

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