President Joe Biden said Friday he does not plan to travel to East Palestine, Ohio, where a train derailment three weeks ago caused a toxic chemical leak that spread for miles, endangering residents and wildlife. Was.
“this moment [I’m] No,” Biden asked reporters at the White House if he planned to visit the city near the border with Pennsylvania.
“The answer is I had a long meeting with my team and what they’re doing. You know, we were there within two hours that the train went down, two hours.”
The Biden administration has faced strong criticism from congressional Republicans, as well as residents of East Palestine, over its derailed response, with some arguing that the president should have instead made a surprise visit to Ukraine earlier this week. Should have visited the site.
Biden disputed Friday that his administration was not involved in the response efforts, telling reporters that he is “watching very closely.”
Former President Donald Trump, along with GOP Sen. JD Vance of Ohio and other local Republicans, made a campaign stop in eastern Palestine on Wednesday, where they criticized Biden’s handling of the crisis.
The next day, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited East Palestine and vowed that his department would work with the administration and Congress to prevent future disasters like the February 3 train derailment.
However, several GOP lawmakers have demanded that Buttigieg resign.
On Friday, the Republican-led House Oversight Committee launched an investigation into Buttigieg over his response to the derailment.
Kentucky Speaker James Comer and other Republican members requested documents related to maintenance and procedures, including trains carrying hazardous materials.
While Buttigieg has highlighted railroad controls during the Trump administration, some Democrats have said the Biden administration is not without faults.
Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have criticized the federal response, suggesting that officials should be doing more to help the region recover.
During a visit to East Palestine on February 16, EPA Administrator Michael Regan said that the administration would work to hold Norfolk Southern responsible for the derailment.
The same day, Manchin said in a statement that it was “unacceptable that it took nearly two weeks for a senior administration official to show up.”
Kyle Stewart Contribution,