(CNSNews.com) – Three weeks after a train derailment left East Palestine, Ohio contaminated with toxic chemicals, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg finally arrived there this morning, to hear from officials on the ground — and maybe to hear from the furious and frightened residents.
His visit comes one day after former President Donald Trump went to East Palestine to commiserate with the town’s people.
“In too many cases, your goodness and perseverance were met with indifference and betrayal,” Trump said, referring to the Biden administration’s slow response to the disaster.
“Happy to discuss timing of our Ohio visit,” Buttigieg tweeted on Wednesday. “[B]ut starting to think some in Washington want that to be the main focus so that there aren’t too many questions about rail safety regulation, who is for and who is against. We will hold the line on railroad safety and accountability.”
Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) said the response of Buttigieg and the entire Biden administration has been “a day late and a dollar short.”
“But there is a lot that they can do to make up for this and ensure that East Palestine isn’t forgotten into the future. The devastation in this community, you’re going to have some people staying but some people trying to leave.
“You’re going to have some businesses that have been destroyed by this, not through any fault of their own. Not because they failed to sell a good product but because of this disaster and the effect that it’s had on the community.
“So we’re going to have to take care of this community. We’re going to have to ensure that what happened at the train crash almost three weeks ago doesn’t destroy this town. And like the mayor said, we’re going to have to stay on top of federal officials and Norfolk Southern to make sure that people are safe. I think that those are the important things that we have to do.
“I’m certainly going to stay on top of it. I know a lot of people are as well.”
Vance said a lot of people don’t trust their government, and “rightfully so, after the last couple of years when they really screwed up the COVID situation.”
“When you have poisonous soil in East Palestine, the cleanup is not yet finished. When you have people seeing dead fish and dead crawdads in their water, they have every right to be concerned about this.
“And unfortunately, they don’t think the government’s listening to them — the Biden administration, they don’t feel like Norfolk Southern is listening to them.
“And we’ve got to stay on top of people to make sure that the folks of East Palestine are not forgotten. That, to me, is the number one job.
“You heard the mayor said, the safety of the residents is what we have to care about. Not just tomorrow but over the next couple of years. And their own government they don’t feel like is listening to them.”
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