Feb 23, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Buttigieg visits site of East Palestine train derailment

The site of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, on Feb. 17.

The site of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, on Feb. 17. Photo: US Environmental Protection Agency/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Thursday visited the site of a derailment of a Norfolk Southern train that carried hazardous materials in East Palestine, Ohio.

Why it matters: The Biden administration has faced accusations from some Republicans of moving too slowly and not doing enough in response to the wreck.

  • Democrats say deregulation under the Trump administration gutted Obama-era rules and hurt the EPA's ability to respond.

The big picture: The derailment is the latest transportation crisis confronting Buttigieg and the Transportation Department after major aviation issues, a close call with a nationwide freight rail strike and soaring gas prices.

  • Earlier this week, Buttigieg sent a letter to railway operator rail operator Norfolk Southern in which he urged the company to "demonstrate unequivocal support for the people" of East Palestine.
  • The Transportation Department also called for multiple measures to increase rail safety and hold rail operators responsible for violating safety regulations.

What's next: The National Transportation Safety Board is set to release a preliminary report on Thursday in its investigation into the cause of the derailment.

Go deeper: Norfolk Southern reported rise in railway accident rates ahead of Ohio train derailment

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