DoT Secretary Buttigieg urges Norfolk Southern to make good on its promises after OH derailment

United States Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg penned a letter to the railroad company responsible for the disastrous and toxic freight train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, earlier this month, urging the company to make residents whole as swiftly as possible, and clean up its act.

In the strongly-worded Sunday letter, Buttigieg made it clear that Norfolk Southern is responsible for not only the cleanup from the massive accident that spewed chemicals into the environment three weeks ago, but also for ensuring this type of accident becomes a thing of the past across the entire railroad industry.  Buttigeig emphasized “the urgent need for Norfolk Southern to demonstrate unequivocal support for the people of East Palestine and the surrounding areas, and to be a part of needed safety improvements across the industry.”

Buttigieg listed a series of previous Ohio derailments that resulted in fallout for local residents, including one in 2011 and another in 2012. The DoT Secretary also faulted the railroad company and its peers for lobbying politicians and persuading judges to do away with important safety measures in favor of profits in the past.  “Norfolk Southern and other rail companies spent millions of dollars in the courts and lobbying members of Congress to oppose common-sense safety regulations, stopping some entirely and reducing the scope of others,” he wrote. He went on to explain that the lobbying had resulted in hampering the Department of Transportation’s ability to enforce safety measures on the railroad industry.

Norfolk Southern failed to appear at a town hall last week in East Palestine to discuss the derailment with residents, citing fears for its employees’ safety. The company did, however, publicly pledge to stay in the area “as long as it takes” to clean up after the incident. 




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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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