Transportation Department Director Pete Buttigieg was excoriated online for a short clip of his reaction to the environmental disaster from a train derailment in Ohio.
Buttigieg appeared on Yahoo! Finance to tout the Biden administration’s policies to encourage electric vehicle use when he was asked how future derailments could be avoided.
“Look, rail safety is something that has evolved a lot over the years, but there’s clearly more that needs to be done because while this horrible situation has gotten a particularly high amount of attention, there are roughly one thousand cases a year of a train derailing,” he said.
“Obviously, they have levels of severity,” Buttigieg added.
A short clip of his comments was posted to social media, where many thought it was insensitive of him to compare it to other derailment accidents.
“Oh I feel much better now,” responded Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri sarcastically.
“IT DOESN’T COST A DIME TO GIVE A DAMN. But these ciphers can’t be bothered to show up,” replied Dagen McDowell of Fox News.
“Oh, so according to the over-his-head mediocrity who was hired for the job he has solely because he’s gay, train derailments are pretty ordinary so there’s nothing to worry about. Sounds totally legit. Nothing to see there, I guess,” read a popular tweet from John Hawkins.
However, Buttigieg’s full comments extended beyond the short clip.
“Well the most urgent thing right now is to make sure that these residents get the information that they need, they are concerned, they are frightened and with good reason. They had their lives upended through no fault of their own and now want to know if their homes, their neighborhoods, their schools are safe,” he responded.
“Obviously EPA, the administrators, have been doing great work on this on the ground today, a lot of this is a partnership between them and the state when it comes to things like testing the air, testing the water. But there’s a very important transportation safety side to this too. Now, the NTSB, National Transportation Safety Board, they are an independent body and I respect their independence and their leadership of the investigation right now,” Buttigieg continued.
“But our department supports that process, matter of fact we had people on the ground within hours of our Federal Rail Administration and our Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to support that investigation,” he said.
Residents in the area surrounding the derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, have reported dead animals, sickness, and breathing problems from the toxic chemicals that were burned off by officials.
“We basically nuked a town with chemicals so we could get a railroad open,” said one hazardous materials specialist.
Here’s the full interview with Buttigieg on Yahoo! Finance:
White House, Tesla partnership ‘a great opportunity,’ Sec. Buttigieg sayswww.youtube.com
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