Donald Trump is traveling to East Palestine, Ohio today. He may be treating it like a campaign stop, but this trip is instead a reminder that Trump and his administration laid the foundation for the toxic train derailment.
The Trump administration gutted safety regulations and created dangerous conditions for workers. It is a grotesque political stunt that Trump is showing in East Palestine, especially considering that slashing regulations is a key piece of his MAGA agenda going into 2024.
During the Trump presidency, track inspections were deprioritized, safety rules to address worker fatigue were slashed, and importantly, the Trump administration rolled back breaking system regulations by using bad data to justify the change.
Read more about Trump’s terrible record here:
New York Times (2021): “Over four years, the Trump administration dismantled major climate policies and rolled back many more rules governing clean air, water, wildlife and toxic chemicals. In all, a New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School and other sources, counts nearly 100 environmental rules officially reversed, revoked or otherwise rolled back under Mr. Trump. More than a dozen other potential rollbacks remained in progress by the end but were not finalized by the end of the administration’s term. […] 93. Reversed an Obama-era rule that required braking system upgrades for ‘high hazard’ trains hauling flammable liquids like oil and ethanol.”
AP (2018): “President Donald Trump’s administration miscalculated the potential benefits of putting better brakes on trains that haul explosive fuels when it scrapped an Obama-era rule over cost concerns, The Associated Press has found. A government analysis used to justify the cancellation omitted up to $117 million in estimated future damages from train derailments that could be avoided by using electronic brakes. Revelation of the error stoked renewed criticism Thursday from the rule’s supporters, who called the analysis biased.”
AP (2018): “Some rules that were in the works have been abandoned entirely. After four people died when a New York commuter train derailed while speeding around a curve in 2013, investigators determined that the engineer had fallen asleep. He had undiagnosed sleep apnea, a disorder that causes pauses in breathing and prevents restful sleep, and had made no effort to stop the train. The National Transportation Safety Board blamed the crash in part on federal regulators for not requiring medical screening of engineers for sleep disorders. Yet last summer, DOT withdrew a rule the government was in the early stages of writing to require screening for engineers and truck and bus drivers.”
Reuters (2017): “Train track safety inspections were another focus of the Obama administration, which said it planned to propose new rules to address ‘dangerous track conditions and defects’ in order to prevent train derailments. The Trump administration said in a document posted last week that the previous administration’s initiative had been moved to the ‘long-term action’ list, meaning it does not plan any additional action for at least 12 months on the proposal and could abandon it completely.”
Published: Feb 22, 2023