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Ohio Residents Demand Answers, Criticize Pete Buttigieg For Doing Nothing Following Toxic Train Spill

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Hundreds of angry Ohio residents demanded answers at a meeting after a train derailed and spilled toxic chemicals all over their town, causing safety concerns. 


East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway attempted to calm and reassure the 4,700 residents in his town, but after a whole week following the spill, Tuesday was the first time he had heard from the White House. 

Furious, residents asked where Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was insisting he does something about the situation.  

"Where's Pete Buttigieg? Where's he at?" One man asked Conaway. 

"I don't know. Your guess is as good as me," the mayor replied. 

"We need our citizens to feel safe in their own homes," Conaway said." I need help. I'm not ready for this. But I'm not leaving; I'm not going anywhere."

Norfolk Southern, which operated the train that spilled the toxic chemicals, did not attend the meeting because they said they feared violence. 

"After consulting with community leaders, we have become increasingly concerned about the growing physical threat to our employees and members of the community around this event stemming from the increasing likelihood of the participation of outside parties," the company said in a statement. 


Conaway responded, "they screwed up our town; they're going to fix it."

Railway Union officials warned Norfolk Southern that such an accident could happen due to railroad cost-cutting that harmed safety measures. However, the company ignored the caution, insisting that its record had been "trending safer."

In a letter to Buttigieg, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla) and J.D. Vance (R-OH) gave the transportation secretary 30 days to release information from his department regarding oversight of the freight train system. 

However, Buttigieg blamed constraints on a braking rule withdrawn by the Trump Administrative but assures residents that he is using the power he has to "keep people safe." 


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