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Tipsheet

Rail Workers Are Getting Sick, Undercutting Biden Officials' 'All Is Well' Line in East Palestine

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

On the administrative front, the toxic train crash in East Palestine, Ohio, has made Pete Buttigieg do something in his capacity as transportation secretary. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but the former South Bend mayor’s presidential ambitions fall squarely on how he handles this derailment that caught the Biden administration off guard. Residents of the town, and the surrounding areas, are stricken with fear over the safety of the drinking water. The air quality is also suspect since local wildlife has been absent for days; deer and birds specifically have fled the area. Thousands of fish have died, and the updates on the region's safety are scattered at best. Given the gross incompetence that infests this administration, I would also have misgivings. 

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Multiple railway unions have contacted Buttigieg to deliver more troubling news: their workers are getting sick at the crash site, stricken with migraines and nausea. Is it safe? Or will we have to wait another 20 days until we get an answer from Petey on this one (via NBC News):

The presidents of U.S. railroad unions told Biden administration officials that rail workers have fallen ill at the Norfolk Southern derailment site in East Palestine, Ohio, in a push for more train safety. 

Leaders from 12 unions met with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Amit Bose, administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, in Washington, D.C., Wednesday to discuss the derailment, aftermath and needed safety improvements. 

[…] 

According to the letter, Norfolk Southern rail workers who have worked or continue to work the cleanup site have reported experiencing “migraines and nausea.” One worker reportedly asked his supervisor to be transferred off the derailment site because of his symptoms, but never heard back from his supervisor and was left at the job site. 

[…] 

The letter also claims workers are not being provided appropriate personal protective equipment such as respirators, eye protection or protective clothing. According to union representatives, 35 to 40 workers were on the track and were not supplied with proper breathing apparatuses — only paper and N95 masks — or rubber gloves, boots or coverups. 

A Norfolk Southern spokesperson told CNBC in a statement that the train company was “on-scene immediately after the derailment and coordinated our response with hazardous material professionals who were on site continuously to ensure the work area was safe to enter and the required PPE was utilized, all in addition to air monitoring that was established within an hour.” 

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Excuse me—there was a train crash where toxic chemicals were released, which the Biden administration did nothing about for two weeks, and then we learn that inadequate protective gear was provided. Maybe Pete Buttigieg can provide some of that luxurious Brooks Brothers PPE.

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