Senators JD Vance, Marco Rubio Send Letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg Demanding Answers on East Palestine Train Derailment

Ohio Senator JD Vance (R-OH) and Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday amid the ongoing situation surrounding the recent train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

On February 3rd, part of a Norfolk Southern train consisting of three locomotives, nine empties, and 141 loaded cars – 20 of which were carrying hazardous materials – derailed near the Pennsylvania-Ohio border.

Following the derailment of 50 train carriages, 10 of which were carrying hazardous materials, hundreds of local residents had to be evacuated due to the controlled release of poisonous gasses that was carried out on February 6th to prevent an explosion, The Ohio Star previously reported.

While an investigation is underway to decipher the cause of the derailment, Vance and Rubio’s letter requested answers surrounding the department of transportation’s oversight of the nation’s freight train system, specifically how it balances “building a safe, resilient rail industry across our country in relation to building a hyper-efficient one with minimal direct human input.”

In the letter, Vance and Rubio argued that the Biden administration prioritizes “efficiency over resilience in its national infrastructure and transportation systems,” citing the rail industries’ wide use of proprecision-scheduled railroading which “increases efficiency and drives down costs by moving more freight with fewer workers.”

Proprecision-scheduled railroading (PSR) is used by Norfolk Southern, which the senators said they believed played a part as a potential contributor to the derailment in East Palestine.

“By that token, it is not unreasonable to ask whether a crew of two rail workers, plus one trainee, is able to effectively monitor 150 cars,” the senators wrote. “While officials at the department’s Federal Railroad Administration have said that data are inconclusive when it comes to the effects of PSR on rail safety, derailments have reportedly increased in recent years, as has the rate of total accidents or safety-related incidents per track mile.”

The senators requested a written response to their letter within 30 days.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network.




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4 Thoughts to “Senators JD Vance, Marco Rubio Send Letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg Demanding Answers on East Palestine Train Derailment”

  1. Looneytoonsindville

    More immediate than future cancer concerns is the phosgene gas that was released into the environment. This WWI chemical weapon does not go away! People in France are often burned when they sit on old trees that have fallen that were exposed to the phosgene during the war; it persists forever!!!

  2. Recognizing Truth

    Pyrolizing (burning) vinyl chloride (C2H3Cl) produces mostly Carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrochloric acid (HCL) with some amount of phosgene gas (COCL2) and other non-noxious compounds. In small quantities these are all irritants. In sufficient quantities they can cause asphyxiation and even ultimately death by replacing oxygen (CO) damaging airways (HCL) and/or causing organ/system damage (COCL2). Proximity to the source of the toxins and (due to air movement) concentrations of the toxins need to be measured and managed to prevent acute exposure, and ensure that prolonged minimal exposure (which can have cumulative effects) are eliminated or significantly mitigated. Animal life in proximity to the irritants have already shown death and other signs of acute exposure. As an engineer/physicist/chemist who helped design toxic spill protocols, and mitigation procedures, I would have recommended an evacuation with NO return to the area for residents or unprotected operatives until the source of the contamination (the burning chemicals) was ended, containment of the source toxin (vinyl chloride) was completed and following two successive “free and clear” tests of the potable water systems (wells, reservoirs).

  3. Daniel

    It seems when these types of things happen, the Government is doing whatever kills the most people. Surprised? Just start with the fake vaccines and go from there. Why else would they certify pilots with heart problems to fly? They don’t care if the planes crash.