On February 3rd, a freight train carrying hazardous material derailed in East Palestine, Ohio due to a broken rail. The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has been supporting an investigation led by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Unfortunately, amid this incident, right-wing commentator Charlie Kirk has accused members of President Biden’s Cabinet of orchestrating the derailment as part of an effort to eradicate white people.
In response to the derailment and subsequent accusations, USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg tweeted that they have been supporting the investigation by NTSB and are also monitoring air quality for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and other chemicals. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) arrived onsite shortly after the incident to screen 291 homes; 181 remain. To date, there have been no detections identified from these screenings but reports have emerged claiming health problems in humans and animals which further fuel conspiracy theories about UFO distractions from this disaster.
Despite these sensationalized theories, it is important to remember that USDOT has taken swift action in responding to this disaster with support from EPA and NTSB. As investigations continue, both USDOT and EPA are taking extra caution in ensuring public safety by screening homes for potential risks that may arise from hazardous materials leaking into nearby ecosystems or waters. Furthermore, experts have noted that railroads typically perform regular maintenance checks on their tracks which should prevent or mitigate any additional accidents similar to this one should they arise again in the future. While it is necessary to take all allegations made against President Biden’s Cabinet seriously, it is important to acknowledge that so far investigations have not revealed any evidence linking them directly with this incident in any way.
It is imperative that we use these tragedies as an opportunity to reflect on our transportation systems as well as take steps towards preventing similar incidents like this one moving forward. We must ensure proper regulations are implemented when dealing with hazardous materials as oftentimes these substances can cause damage if mishandled or not handled correctly at all stages of transport including loading onto trains through unloading off them at their destinations. This can lead not only to costly damages but also immense risk for invaluable lives if not monitored closely enough before transport takes place or during it all together which is why both individuals responsible for attending these processes along with federal agencies need to be held accountable when matters such as this occur so safety standards can continually remain high thus eliminating any potential risks for future disasters such as what happened here in East Palestine Ohio recently on February 3rd, 2021.