Ohio train derailment: Joe Manchin demands answers from Buttigieg on rail safety

Global Security Challenges and Strategy
Sen. Joe Manchin attends the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Global Security Challenges and Strategy, in Dirksen Building, on Feb. 15, 2023. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag

Ohio train derailment: Joe Manchin demands answers from Buttigieg on rail safety

Video Embed

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is calling on the Department of Transportation to be more transparent about its rail safety oversight in the wake of the disastrous train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

Manchin pointed out to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg that the crash took place less than 20 miles from the Ohio border with West Virginia, and his home state also experienced a severe oil spill from a 2015 train derailment. His Friday letter asks for a deeper investigation into the Ohio derailment and for answers about how railroads are inspected for safety.

OHIO TRAIN DERAILMENT: PETE BUTTIGIEG PLAYS DEFENSE IN EAST PALESTINE: ‘LOST MY TRAIN OF THOUGHT’

“I greatly appreciate the swift response of first responders and local and state officials, and am relieved there are no current reports that indicate West Virginians should be concerned for their air or water quality. However, I understand the concerns raised by West Virginians and Ohioans in close proximity to the site. People deserve answers,” Manchin wrote. “This raises serious questions around equipment maintenance, inspections, and existing safety systems intended to prevent these accidents.”

According to the National Transportation Safety Board’s initial report on the Ohio derailment, a defective rail car axle may have caused a wheel bearing to overheat. Though the wheel bearing was beginning to overheat several miles before the crash, it didn’t trigger the sensor by crossing the danger threshold shortly before the crash.

“I am heartened that the [Federal Railroad Administration] has reinstated regular audits of the railroads to ensure compliance with safety regulations, but we must do more. FRA’s last systemwide audit of NS took place in May 2022, almost a year ago,” Manchin said, adding, “I urge DOT to review its inspection practices with a particular focus on maintenance and safety.”

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Several GOP lawmakers have demanded Buttigieg resign after taking days to respond to the Feb. 3 crash. The DOT head visited the site this week, but not before former President Donald Trump and Sens. J.D. Vance (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) visited the scene and spoke to residents.

The crash released massive amounts of toxic chemicals into the environment and displaced residents from their homes.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

Related articles

Share article

Latest articles