Biden’s Own Administration Calls Pete Buttigieg’s Claims on East Palestine Train ‘Misinformation’

This photo taken with a drone shows portions of a Norfolk Southern freight train that dera
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, AP Photo/Evan Vucci

A member of Biden’s own administration called U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg’s claims about the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio — in which he blamed former President Donald Trump — “misinformation.”

On Tuesday, while addressing the rail disaster, Buttigieg falsely claimed he is “constrained by law on some areas of rail regulation” and cited a “braking rule” that was withdrawn in 2018, under the Trump administration.

Buttigieg was referring to the Department of Transportation (DOT) withdrawing a proposed rule requiring trains carrying certain dangerous chemicals to use electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes.

After that, social media users circulated this claim on Twitter, echoing Buttigieg by blaming Trump for the train derailment in Ohio earlier this month.

But on Thursday, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chair Jennifer Homendy took to Twitter to implore the public to “PLEASE STOP SPREADING MISINFORMATION” about what caused the train disaster.

While lamenting about what she called “misinformation,” Homendy mentioned the false claim promulgated by Buttigieg on Tuesday.

“For example,” she said, “Some are saying the ECP (electronically controlled pneumatic) brake rule, if implemented, would’ve prevented this derailment. FALSE.”

The NTSB Chair went on to explain 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 declared.

In additional tweets, Homendy stressed 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 told Breitbart News that the train “was not considered a high-hazard flammable train.”

This means that if the rule mandating ECP brakes would have gone into effect, it would not have applied to the train that derailed in East Palestine — per Homendy’s statement.

On February 3, a train operated by Norfolk Southern was carrying toxic chemicals — including vinyl chloride — when it derailed in East Palestine, spilling the chemicals, and sparking a fire, which sent thick billowing smoke into the sky:

Eric Whiting/LOCAL NEWS X /TMX

Cleanup crews later ignited five train cars to get rid of toxic, flammable chemicals in a controlled environment, which created a dark plume of smoke, resulting in images that circulated across social media, sparking concerns around the nation.

Moreover, about half of the town’s population was ordered to evacuate.

While residents have since been told it is safe to return home, many of them are scared and concerned, as they do not trust the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s claims that the water is safe to drink.

“I think that if the EPA administrator wants to stand here and tell people that the tap water is safe, by all means, they should be willing to drink it,” Senator JD Vance (R-OH) told reporters in East Palestine on Thursday.

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You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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