By Peter Baldi, fellow Melrosian:
Incase you've been under a rock, a train derailed in Ohio. And then the comedy ensued.
Norfolk Southern Railway owns the rails and the train.
Norfolk Southern spent $6 million to overturn the Obama administration's requirement that individual rail cars carrying toxic chemicals be equipped with emergency brakes.
A train carrying toxic chemicals derails.
The liquid in the tanks leaked into a nearby waterway killing thousands of fish.
Norfolk Southern, fearing the derailed cars may explode, decides to vent the cars and burn off the contents; without notifying any governmental or law enforcement entity.
The resulting gas is phosgene; a poisonous gas used in WWI.
Governor Mike DeWine states that he sees no need for Federal help, and that the local people should drink bottled water.
Senator J.D. Vance tells the local residents that he is working closely with FEMA, but there is no FEMA because FEMA can only respond once the Governor declares a State of Emergency: which he hasn't.
J.D. Vance blames Biden for the crash because none of the funds from the infrastructure bill were spent on that railway. Which is privately owned.
Only 623 miles of railway are owned by the Federal government. None of which is in Ohio.
Governor DeWine complains that the Transportation Secretary, a federal employee which he says he doesn't need, hasn't visited the crash site. Which is privately owned.
DeWine tells the residents to drink bottled water.
A second Norfolk Southern train derailed today.
Here's the humor. Mike DeWine is a republican. J.D. Vance is a republican. The politicians who voted to eliminate the rule requiring brakes on toxic tanker cars were republicans. The people of Ohio voted republican. So my advice is to, breathe deep and drink bottled water.
Late Thursday update: multiple GOP senators call for Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to resign, with senator Marco Rubio releasing the following statement regarding Buttigieg:
“Even after acknowledging the tragedy, he continues to deflect any accountability for the safety of our nation’s rail system. The circumstances leading up to the derailment point to a clear lack of oversight and demand engagement by our nation’s top transportation official.”
Someone should tell Marco that our nation’s rail system is privately owned, and the federal government is barred by law from its oversight. It can’t even require toxic chemical train cars to have brakes.
More humor from the party whose official policy is unfettered business, and whose hero famously said, “The 9 most terrifying words in the English language are, I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.
NYTimes: "The precise cause of the Norfolk Southern derailment in East Palestine is still under investigation. But we know it occurred in an industry that tolerates too many preventable derailments and fights too many safety regulations. During the Obama and Trump administrations, the rail industry successfully lobbied against stricter rules for trains carrying flammable chemicals, and against more advanced brakes that experts and the rail industry itself have said could lessen the severity of derailments."