[Photo Credit: By Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States - Rep. Ilhan Omar - Press Conference Ahead of August Primary Election, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=93427859]
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) reportedly voiced her alarm over the Norfolk Southern train disaster in East Palestine, Ohio, and urged Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to intervene immediately.
To reduce the chance of an explosion, local and state officials evacuated all homes within one mile of the collision and began a controlled burn of chemicals spilled during the event.
Vinyl chloride, a carcinogen that may pollute water sources, was spilled from five railway carriages in the form of large plumes of black smoke visible over eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, raising concerns about the Ohio River Basin’s air and water quality.
On Monday, Omar urged legislators to investigate the event and urged Buttigieg to take direct action to rectify it.
“East Palestine railroad derailment will have a significant negative impact on the health and wellbeing of the residents for decades and there is almost zero national media attention,” Omar said.
Several Republicans chastised Buttigieg for being mute about the incident, which occurred on February 3.
Buttigieg spoke at the National Association of Counties Conference on Monday about issues such as racial fairness in the building industry while ignoring the catastrophe.
Other liberals, including as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Ro Khanna, have already criticized Buttigieg (D-CA).
Buttigieg took months of paid vacation last year after adopting twins, despite the fact that the supply chain issue slowed the economy and exacerbated inflationary pressures.
Buttigieg also vacationed in Portugal as train employees prepared to strike at the end of last year, and he has allegedly flown taxpayer-funded private jets at least 18 times since taking office.
This in spite of the fact that he has voiced support for numerous climate-change initiatives in the past.