Republican legislators have started to heavily criticize Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for how he has been responding to the recent train derailment that has taken place in East Palestine, Ohio, which has marked itself as just the most recent of a number of high-profile infrastructure disasters that has taken place over the course of his short two-year tenure in the role.
This derailment, which took place back on the 3rd of February, sparked a fire that burned for quite a few days. Officials then elected to evacuate all nearby residents within one mile of the crash before starting a controlled burn of the chemicals to assist in mitigating the risk of an explosion. As a result, five full train cars of vinyl chloride, as a very corrosive carcinogen that can easily contaminate water supplies, was released up into the atmosphere via giant plumes of massive dark acrid smoke which was visible in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.
Buttigieg made an appearance at the National Association of Counties Conference this past Monday in order to talk about a number of issues such as racial equity when it comes to the construction sector. He quickly faced pressure from a number of Republican officials who stated that Buttigieg downright failed to address the crisis.
“Pete Buttigieg has finally emerged today. Not a single comment about the train crash in Ohio,” stated Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) across social media. “Instead, he bemoaned the whiteness of the construction industry. It’s a miracle that this country is able to function at all under this regime.”
Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) spokes up to state that the official should be harshly questioned by legislators, while Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX) also claimed that Buttigieg “hasn’t said a word” when it comes to the ecological disaster after more than nine days since it started. As the company which is responsible for the massive derailment, Norfolk Southern issued to the EPA a complete list of all of the cars affected by the incident and the chemicals which they were transporting. Along with the dangerous vinyl chloride, a number of highly toxic industrial chemicals were also being moved, such as ethylene glycol monobutyl ether and ethylhexyl acrylate and ended up being spilled at the site.
“The recent train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio is nothing short of a tragedy,” stated Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ). “This is another transportation failure under Mayor Pete’s leadership. Where is he?”