In February 2023, a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, sent shockwaves throughout the transportation industry, leading to a public rebuke from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). At the center of this controversy is Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who attributed the crash to Trump-era deregulation. However, Biden appointee, NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy has since come out to publicly criticize Buttigieg, claiming his statements contain “misinformation.”
Buttigieg attributed the derailment to the Trump administration’s repeal of an Obama-era rule requiring electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes on “high-hazard flammable” trains. On Feb. 13, 10 days after the derailment, Buttigieg acknowledged the incident for the first time on Twitter and blamed Trump-era deregulation.
“We’re constrained by law on some areas of rail regulation (like the braking rule withdrawn by the Trump administration in 2018 because of a law passed by Congress in 2015),” Buttigieg tweeted, “but we are using the powers we do have to keep people safe.”
In response, Homendy accused Buttigieg of spreading “false” information, citing that the ECP braking rule would’ve only applied to “high-hazard flammable” trains. The train that derailed in East Palestine was a mixed freight train containing only three placarded Class 3 flammable liquids cars.
As it turns out, during the Obama administration, the NTSB unsuccessfully lobbied for a broader definition of “high-hazard flammable.” This means that even if the rule had been in effect, it wouldn’t have prevented this particular derailment.
“Some are saying the ECP (electronically controlled pneumatic) brake rule, if implemented, would’ve prevented this derailment. FALSE – here’s why…” Homendy tweeted. “The ECP braking rule would’ve applied ONLY to HIGH HAZARD FLAMMABLE TRAINS. The train that derailed in East Palestine was a MIXED FREIGHT TRAIN containing only 3 placarded Class 3 flammable liquids cars.”
The ECP braking rule would’ve applied ONLY to HIGH HAZARD FLAMMABLE TRAINS. The train that derailed in East Palestine was a MIXED FREIGHT TRAIN containing only 3 placarded Class 3 flammable liquids cars. pic.twitter.com/ReAFDSdsn7
— Jennifer Homendy (@JenniferHomendy) February 17, 2023
She also went on CNN and said the same thing.
WATCH: NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy says the brake rule Buttigieg and Joy Behar blamed President Trump for repealing 'would not have prevented' the East Palestine derailment.
"The wheel bearing failed on car number 23. So even with ECP brakes, the derailment would have occurred." pic.twitter.com/AECPta0T5F
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) February 24, 2023
Well, at least there’s one competent Biden official out there.
The response to the derailment is definitely an embarrassment to the Biden administration and Homendy’s comments signal Pete may be forced to step down.
As the avalanche heads for Buttiegeig, he’s decided to send a “nasty” letter to the railroad company.
From ABC News:
In a sharply worded, three-page letter sent Sunday to Norfolk Southern Railway president and CEO Alan Shaw, Buttigieg accused the Atlanta-based company of repeatedly prioritizing profit over safety — a problematic ethos within the larger transportation industry that the secretary said has contributed to a number of derailments over the years.
What a clown.
This is the same guy that said a few days before the derailment isn’t a big deal because they happen all the time.
PETE BUTTIGIEG: “Rail safety is something that has evolved over the years, but there’s clearly more that needs to be done…There are roughly 1,000 cases a year of a train derailing.”
How many of these derailments involve toxic chemical spills, Mayor Pete? pic.twitter.com/yBHazp7ATV
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) February 17, 2023