J.D. Vance ‘Horrified’ by Ohio Train Derailment, Assures Investigation

J.D. Vance. rail safety
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, Andrew Spear/Getty Images

Republican Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) is “horrified” by the train derailment along the Ohio-Pennsylvania line — resulting in the release of toxic chemicals and residents evacuating — assuring that his office is working with local agencies and investigating all concerns related to the incident.

“Like every Ohioan, I’m horrified by the Norfolk Southern train crash in East Palestine and the images we’ve seen coming from Northeast Ohio,” Vance said of the train derailment, which took place February 3.

“One week ago, local and state officials determined that to avoid a catastrophic explosion a controlled release of vinyl chloride would take place. This release is the source of the frightening plumes of black smoke that have made their way around social media. While those plumes of smoke are now gone, many questions remain,” he said, explaining that federal agencies have been working to determine the safety of the air and water for residents. The tests, thus far, he said, have been “encouraging.”

“We continue to monitor environmental reports from multiple agencies about the quality of the air and water in the region. I have heard alarming anecdotes about contaminated waterways and effects on wildlife. I encourage anyone with credible reports of environmental harms to contact my office,” he said, adding that his office will work with “relevant agencies and monitor the situation in the region.”

Vance also drew attention to the first responders, noting that his office will work with FEMA to ensure that firefighters are taken care of. Additionally, he said his office will focus on investigating concerns on how and why the incident occurred.

“I am dedicated to ensuring that the relevant authorities do not use tests conducted as a permission slip to pack up and go home. This is a complex environmental disaster with impacts that may be difficult to assess in the short term. Long-term study will be imperative,” he added:

Vance is among those who have criticized Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, as the Biden official spoke at the National Association of Counties Conference Monday and lamented the number of white construction workers in the country.

“We have heard way too many stories from generations past of infrastructure where you got a neighborhood — often a neighborhood of color that finally sees the project come to them — but everyone in the hard hats on that project looking like, you know, doing the good paying jobs, [they] don’t look like they came from anywhere near the neighborhood,” he said:

“Now we know if you listen to Secretary Buttigieg today, that they are focused more on whether we have too many white men in construction jobs than he is on the fundamentals of his job, which is ensuring we have a viable transportation infrastructure in this country,” Vance said during an appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight, adding that “we are ruled by unserious people who are worried about fake problems instead of the real fact that our country is falling apart in some of the most important ways”:

Buttigieg released a statement on social media Monday evening, explaining that he is “concerned about the impacts” of the train derailment.


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