Trump Announcing Trip to East Palestine keys FEMA Reversal for Ohio Disaster Aid
It’s amazing what a little political one-upsmanship from Donald Trump Can Accomplish ~Kyle Becker
Donald Trump on Friday announced his decision to travel to East Palestine, Ohio, the site of an ecological disaster caused by a Norfolk Southern train derailment on February 3rd.
The announcement was reported by Rogan O’Handley, a close associate of the former president.
BREAKING: President Trump will be visiting East Palestine, Ohio next week
This is what a real President looks like
— DC_Draino (@DC_Draino) February 17, 2023
A source “close to Trump” told Fox News Digital that he plans to visit with members of the community, adding that the 45th president has a strong relationship with the people of Ohio.
Trump’s announcement came soon after the White House said President Joe Biden has no plans to visit the area. In the two weeks since the train derailment and ecological disaster, neither Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg nor President Joe Biden has visited the county.
Columbiana County, where the epicenter of the environmental fallout is located, voted over 70% for Donald Trump in the last election.
Just in case you were wondering why Biden and Buttigieg are ignoring the toxic chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio
Columbiana County voted 71.7% for Trump in 2020 pic.twitter.com/Ibq5Is6lZI
— DC_Draino (@DC_Draino) February 14, 2023
Trump’s announcement that he would visit East Palestine preceded the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s reversal of its earlier decision to deny Ohio federal disaster relief.
Following further discussions with FEMA tonight, they will be deploying federal resources to East Palestine. pic.twitter.com/T8exeZBRXs
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) February 18, 2023
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg earlier blamed the Trump administration for the train derailment, while claiming he was powerless to do more to prevent it. But a Biden official on Thursday called out Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for spreading “misinformation” about his dodging of responsibility for the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio and his blame of former President Donald Trump.
Buttigieg claimed on Tuesday he is “constrained by law on some areas of rail regulation” and then cited a “braking rule” that was removed in 2018 during the Trump administration.
We’re constrained by law on some areas of rail regulation (like the braking rule withdrawn by the Trump administration in 2018 because of a law passed by Congress in 2015), but we are using the powers we do have to keep people safe. https://t.co/xRyyYpGOwd
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) February 14, 2023
But National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chair Jennifer Homendy retorted on Twitter: “PLEASE STOP SPREADING MISINFORMATION” about the cause of the train disaster.
She blasted the claim as “misinformation” and directly addressed the ECP (electronically controlled pneumatic) brake rule.
Some are saying the ECP (electronically controlled pneumatic) brake rule, if implemented, would’ve prevented this derailment. FALSE – here’s why…
— Jennifer Homendy (@JenniferHomendy) February 17, 2023
The NTSB Chair explained that “The ECP braking rule would’ve applied ONLY to HIGH HAZARD FLAMMABLE TRAINS,” and that “the train that derailed in East Palestine was a MIXED FREIGHT TRAIN containing only 3 placarded Class 3 flammable liquids cars.”
“This means even if the rule had gone into effect, this train wouldn’t have had ECP brakes,” Homendy stated.
Homendy expanded on the reason that blaming the removal of the brake rule under the Trump administration was a false narrative.
For a reminder of the history on ECP, see this graphic from @USGAO. The Dec 2015 FAST Act directive (below) resulted in PHMSA withdrawing the ECP brake rule on September 24, 2018. pic.twitter.com/not4rQkPhU
— Jennifer Homendy (@JenniferHomendy) February 17, 2023
Homendy added that “nothing is more important than accuracy at a moment like this,” and that “anyone speculating about what happened, didn’t happen, or should’ve happened is misleading a suffering community.”
On Thursday, Norfolk Southern said the train “was not considered a high-hazard flammable train.”
Thus, even if the rule mandating ECP brakes were to have gone into effect, it would not have necessarily applied to the Norfolk Southern train that derailed in East Palestine.
Norfolk Southern is owned by a number of major investment firms, including BlackRock, Vanguard, and JP Morgan Chase. In 2017, the rail company successfully lobbied the U.S. government to do away with mandatory safety regulations, such as pneumatic brakes and minimum staffing requirements. The rail company had recently lobbied the government to maintain these lax safety regulations.
“Before this weekend’s fiery Norfolk Southern train derailment prompted emergency evacuations in Ohio, the company helped kill a federal safety rule aimed at upgrading the rail industry’s Civil War-era braking systems,” according to documents reviewed by The Lever. According to the report, the train was not being regulated as a “high-hazard flammable train.”
At the same time as it was lobbying for the lax safety rules, Norfolk Southern paid executives millions and spent billions on stock buybacks, even as it shed thousands of employees despite warnings that understaffing would increase safety risks. Norfolk Southern officials also fought off a shareholder initiative that would have required executives to “assess, review, and mitigate risks of hazardous material transportation.”
The Biden administration on Thursday had rejected Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s request for emergency aid to deal with the ecological disaster ensuing from the Norfolk Southern train derailment….
But it’s amazing what a little political one-upsmanship from Donald Trump can accomplish to push a Biden administration that is apparently only interested in optics.
(TLB) published this article from Becker News as compiled and written by Kyle Becker
Header featured image (edited) credit: Trump/CNN screen shot
Emphasis added by (TLB) editors
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