The chair of the NTSB appears to be overshadowing Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Trump said

After a week of criticism following the deadly train wreck in East Palestine, Ohio, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg took to Twitter on Tuesday to blame the Trump administration. Buttigieg blamed the Trump administration’s proposed rollback of train break rules for the train wreck.

Two days later, National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Jennifer Homendy appeared to throw shade at her boss at the Transportation Department, announcing that the Trump administration had rescinded brake rules that Buttigieg said had nothing to do with the train. Without naming the remains Buttigieg, he called that claim “misinformation.”

File screen image.

Buttigieg tweeted a multi-part thread on February 14 that said, in part:

“Given the East Palestine derailment and its impact on hundreds of residents, we’re seeing a lot of new or renewed (and welcome) interest in our work on rail safety, so I’d like to share more about what we’ve been up to. Doing this in the area:.. .We are making historic investments in rail safety through bipartisan infrastructure funding, work that will accelerate this year and continue in the years to come.”

After a series of tweets blasting the actions of the Biden administration, Buttigieg got to his point: It’s Trump’s fault. Buttigieg linked to a December 2017 think tank paper on the proposed braking regulation repeal titled “DOT Withdraws ECP Brake Rule.”

“We are limited by law in some areas of rail regulation (such as the braking rule repealed by the Trump administration in 2018 due to a law passed by Congress in 2015), but we are using the power we have to keep people safe. “

Fox News reported on the repealed rule this week (excerpt):

Pete Buttigieg blames Trump for Ohio train derailment amid criticism: ‘We’re limited’

…In 2018, the Department of Transportation (DOT) withdrew a rule proposed three years ago that would have required the use of electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes on trains carrying certain hazardous chemicals, saying the benefits of the technology were uncertain.

…Buttigieg was partly blamed for the Trump administration’s rule change after Congress passed and former President Barack Obama signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act in December 2015.

According to the Government Publications Office, the legislation establishes a new process, including independent study and testing, for DOT to use in preparing an updated Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) related to the ECP brake provision. DOT stated in 2018 that evaluating the ECP brake requirement was not expected to be profitable under any circumstances.

Homendi’s thread (in part):

“Thread about derailment in East Palestine: first, a message to the community… then an appeal to those spreading misinformation. To everyone affected: Know that the @NTSB is working hard to understand the cause of this train derailment — so it never happens again.”

(several tweets skipped)

“Nothing … is more important than accuracy in a moment like this, which is why the NTSB is being deliberate in the way we investigate. Credibility is essential to our mission to save lives. The NTSB process works. See how here:”

“This brings me to my final point: Anyone misleading a victim community by speculating about what happened, didn’t happen or should have happened – please stop spreading misinformation. For example…some say the ECP (Electronically Controlled Pneumatic) brake rule, if implemented, could have prevented this derailment. False – here’s why…”

ECP braking rules will be applicable only for high risk flammable trains. The train that derailed in East Palestine was a mixed freight train with only 3 placarded Class 3 flammable liquid cars…meaning that even if this rule was in effect, this train would not have ECP brakes.

“For a reminder of the history on ECP, check out this graphic from @USGAO. PHMSA withdrew the ECP brake rule on September 24, 2018 as a result of the December 2015 FAST Act guidance (below)…I urge you: Lead NTSB in #safety analysis. Anything else is harmful — and adds pain to a community that has had enough.”

Buttigieg, or his staff, retweeted the first and second-to-last tweets of Hommondy’s thread. Did he read the whole thing?