They’re calling it “Ohio’s Chernobyl”; a train derailment that culminated with the burning of a vast amount of toxic vinyl chloride in the city of East Palestine.
Now, as animals around the area become sick and perish in droves, neighbors are rightfully concerned about the potential health ramifications yet to come.
Amid calls for a more thorough federal response, particularly from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, locals became rather agitated this week during a town hall meeting on the subject.
“I don’t know. Your guess is as good as me,” the mayor replied.
He told attendees that Tuesday was the first time he had “heard anything from the White House.”
Buttigieg’s response thus far has been lackluster, with the DOT chief trying to blame Donald Trump for the mess:
In a Wednesday letter to Buttigieg, Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and J.D. Vance wrote to request information from his department regarding oversight of the freight train system and other concerns. The senators gave the secretary 30 days to respond.
Buttigieg had tweeted on Tuesday that the department was “constrained by law on some areas of rail regulation (like the braking rule withdrawn by the Trump administration in 2018 because of a law passed by Congress in 2015), but we are using the powers we do have to keep people safe.”
Representatives of the railroad company responsible for the accident, Norfolk Southern, stated that they would not be attending the meeting due to the threat of violence against their employees.