Progressive group calls on Buttigieg to add regulations after East Palestine train derailment

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

A progressive group called on Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to reinstate railway safety regulations from the Obama administration in the aftermath of the Ohio train derailment that led to the release of toxic chemicals. 

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) said in a release on Tuesday that Buttigieg should reestablish regulations that might have prevented “disasters” like the one that happened in the town of East Palestine. 

A Norfolk Southern train derailed earlier this month in the town, causing a dangerous chemical spill. Officials evacuated thousands of local residents from the area for several days before lifting the evacuation order last week. 

The release notes that Buttigieg tweeted on Monday calling for “accountability,” but said he should take action. 

“But he is the one who can do something to hold accountable greedy corporations who cut corners,” PCCC organizer Keith Rouda said in the release. “Accountability by Tweet only will not do.” 

Buttigieg said in his tweet that the Transportation Department is supporting the investigation that the National Transportation Safety Board is conducting and will use “all relevant authorities” to ensure accountability. 

A petition that the PCCC launched calls on Buttigieg to immediately use his existing power to “make safety rules much stronger, so that rail workers and communities across America are protected.” 

Rouda said the Obama administration had rules in place to prevent this type of situation, but the Trump administration removed them following “corrupt corporate lobbying” and Buttigieg has not restored them. 

The release cites an article from The Lever that states that Buttigieg specifically has not brought back a rule that was designed to expand the use of superior brake technology. 

The derailment reportedly occurred because of a mechanical failure. 

The Hill has reached out to Transportation Department for comment. 

GOP Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and J.D. Vance (Ohio) sent a letter to Buttigieg on Wednesday to question him about the department’s oversight of the rail system.

Tags DOT Ohio train derailment Pete Buttigieg Pete Buttigieg Transportation Department

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