FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Dylan Gyauch-Lewis, email@example.com
In response to the ongoing resolution of a serious derailment in East Palestine, OH, Revolving Door Project Executive Director Jeff Hauser issued the following statement:
“The Obama administration attempted to prevent dangerous derailments like the one in East Palestine by mandating better brake systems on freight trains. But this effort was watered down thanks to corporate pressure, first by writing in many exemptions to the proposed rules and then, under Trump, by repealing the requirement altogether.”
“Reporting from The Lever indicates that Secretary Pete Buttigieg has no intention of reinstating or strengthening the brake rule rescinded under Trump. Additionally, The Lever reports that the train was not being regulated as a high-hazard flammable train, despite it clearly being both high-hazard and flammable. These types of failures to protect the public are invited by perpetual lax enforcement and laziness toward even getting back to the too-low regulatory standards under Obama.”
“Now, all eyes are on Secretary Buttigieg. For too long he has been content to continue the legacy of his deregulatory predecessor, Elaine Chao, rather than immediately moving to reverse her legacy upon becoming Secretary. Norfolk Southern’s environmental disaster is the latest in a long string of corporate malfeasance committed right under the Secretary’s nose. As I’ve warned before, corporations do not respect Buttigieg as a regulator.
“Chao justified letting trains run without proper brakes because the safety requirement failed a so-called cost-benefit analysis. As we’ve covered before, this type of analysis is invariably weighted against fully accounting for the health and environmental benefits a regulation provides. Secretary Buttigieg should call out the brake rule repeal for the horrendous decision it was, start working to implement a new rule, take Norfolk-Southern to task, and push back on corporations deciding how the DOT regulates them. Anything short of that only signals to the railroads that this type of incident will be tolerated. That is not an acceptable message from the Secretary of Transportation.”