The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its initial report about the causes of the Feb. 3 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. The report refuted the Biden Administration’s arguments that the crash was due to Trump-era regulatory changes, and shows that the crash was preventable.
The NTSB report blames the cause of the crash on an overheated wheel bearing. The resulting crash of 50 train cars released thousands of gallons of toxic materials. Officials burned many of the dioxins to dispose of them, leading to further concerns about the pollution released into the small Ohio town.
The initial report states that train operator Norfolk Southern had been warned about the potential danger of the situation. According to the report, an audible warning told the crew to “slow and stop the train to inspect a hot axle.”
The engineer slowed the train though the train still derailed. The situation was difficult for the crew as the crash happened during the night in below-freezing temperatures.
The NTSB called the derailment “no accident” during a press conference regarding the crash and announced that it would conduct a “rare investigative field hearing” about the crash. A final report could take up to 18 months.
The report also follows significant criticism of the Biden Administration for its slow response, especially the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The news from the NTSB also provides crucial evidence against recent arguments by the Biden Administration. White House officials blamed former President Trump for the crash.
Ohio disaster prompts bipartisan calls from Vance, Fetterman for EPA, NTSB to act to ensure resident safety https://t.co/4MhZbSLvTp
— Fox News Politics (@foxnewspolitics) February 16, 2023
In particular, the Biden White House connected President Trump’s regulatory reforms and the braking on the train. However, the NTSB chief stated that the braking system in the nixed regulations would not have prevented the crash.
Furthermore, NTSB director Jennifer Homendy stated that accusations that the Trump Administration’s decision caused the crash was “misinformation.”
While Homendy posted this on Twitter on Feb. 16, the White House blamed the Trump-era change for the crash Feb. 22. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg blamed Republicans for the crash in a series of tweets Feb. 21 without appropriate evidence to back his claims.