Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is in East Palestine, Ohio, on Thursday as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is expected to release preliminary results of its investigation. Norfolk Southern train derailment Carrying dangerous goods.
The 38-coach train crash on February 3 has sparked serious health and environmental concerns for residents of the region, who have expressed frustration over the central government’s slow response to the crisis.
Buttigieg arrived at the derailment site just before 8 a.m. Thursday local time. He is expected to meet with local residents and receive an update on the NTSB’s investigation.
“This morning I will be in East Palestine, Ohio, to visit the Norfolk South derailment site, hear updates from investigators, and meet with first responders. USDOT will continue its work to ensure safety and accountability,” Buttigieg said in a tweet. It included video of him and others on site receiving information about the derailment.
In An interview with CBS News on TuesdayButtigieg said he didn’t go to East Palestine any time soon because he wanted to give the NTSB and emergency workers a place to do their jobs.
“I followed the usual practice of transport secretaries in the initial days after the accident, allowing the NTSP to lead the security work and stay out of their way,” he said. “But I’m very interested in having a conversation with the people in eastern Palestine about how this impacts.”
A Department of Transportation spokeswoman reiterated ahead of Wednesday’s visit that Boutique would visit “when appropriate” and that a trip “does not detract from emergency response efforts.”
“The secretary is leaving now that the EPA has said it is moving out of the emergency response phase and into the long-term remediation phase,” the spokesman said. “His arrival will coincide with the NTSB’s release of factual findings from its investigation into the cause of the derailment. And will allow the Secretary to support the NTSB’s investigation from USDOT investigators who were on the ground within hours of the derailment.”
Federal Railroad Administration Administrator Amit Bose and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Deputy Administrator Tristan Brown are joining the secretary on his visit.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Reagan previously visited eastern Palestine and participated in a town hall hosted by CNN on Wednesday, during which he answered questions from residents. He sought to ease residents’ reluctance to bring their families back to their homes in eastern Palestine, saying he would raise his children there based on air and water measurements showing safe levels.
“As a father I understand the skepticism. I’m a father first. I understand the skepticism, but what I can tell you is what the science is telling us and these readings indicate that there are safe levels,” he said. said.
Reagan said there are no high enough levels to cause adverse health effects.
Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw told residents during a town hall Wednesday that the company has moved out of the “emergency phase” and is working with the EPA on a “long-term solution plan.”
Buttigieg’s visit comes a day after former President Trump visited the city. Earlier, Trump praised local officials for helping “in an hour of need.” Biden blasts the administration’s response As a “betrayal”. “He should have been here a long time ago,” Trump said when asked about the fact that Buttigieg had not already been to East Palestine.
Residents of the village have also invited the boutique or president to visit.
“Where’s Pete Buttigieg? Where is he?” An attendee asked East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway, a Republican, during a Feb. 15 town hall, according to video captured by CBS affiliate WOIO CBS in Ohio.
“I don’t know,” Conaway replied.
In an appearance on Fox News on Monday, Conaway said in light of the fact that the president has not visited eastern Palestine since the derailment, Mr. He called Biden’s trip to Ukraine a “huge slap in the face.”
Jacob Rosen contributed to this report
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