Buttigieg visits site of East Palestine train derailment

The site of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, on Feb. 17. Photo: US Environmental Protection Agency/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Thursday visited the site of a derailment of a Norfolk Southern train that carried hazardous materials in East Palestine, Ohio.

Why it matters: The Biden administration has faced accusations from some Republicans of moving too slowly and not doing enough in response to the wreck.

  • Democrats say deregulation under the Trump administration gutted Obama-era rules and hurt the EPA's ability to respond.

The big picture: The derailment is the latest transportation crisis confronting Buttigieg and the Transportation Department after major aviation issues, a close call with a nationwide freight rail strike and soaring gas prices.

  • Earlier this week, Buttigieg sent a letter to railway operator rail operator Norfolk Southern in which he urged the company to "demonstrate unequivocal support for the people" of East Palestine.
  • The Transportation Department also called for multiple measures to increase rail safety and hold rail operators responsible for violating safety regulations.

What's next: The National Transportation Safety Board is set to release a preliminary report on Thursday in its investigation into the cause of the derailment.

Go deeper: Norfolk Southern reported rise in railway accident rates ahead of Ohio train derailment

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