Chair of NTSB Appears to Throw Shade on DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Says Trump Era Brake Decision Not to Blame for East Palestine Toxic Train Wreck

After receiving criticism for over a week after the toxic train wreck in East Palestine, Ohio, Secretary of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg took to Twitter on Tuesday to condescend to his critics and cast blame on the Trump administration.  Buttigieg blamed the Trump administration’s withdrawal of a proposed train brake rule as being behind the train wreck.

Two days later the chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, Jennifer Homendy, appeared to throw shade on her boss at the Department of Transportation, stating the brake rule withdrawn by the Trump administration that Buttigieg had singled out actually had nothing to do with the train wreck. Without naming Buttigieg, she called that claim “misinformation.”

File screen image.

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

“In the wake of the East Palestine derailment and its impact on hundreds of residents, we’re seeing lots of newfound or renewed (and welcome) interest in our work on rail safety, so I wanted to share more about what we’ve been doing in this area:…We are making historic investments on rail safety through funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, work that accelerates this year and continue in the years to come.”

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

“We’re constrained by law on some areas of rail regulation (like the braking rule withdrawn by the Trump administration in 2018 because of a law passed by Congress in 2015), but we are using the powers we do have to keep people safe.”

Fox News reported on the withdrawn rule this week (excerpt):

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

…In 2018, the Department of Transportation (DOT) withdrew a rule proposed three years earlier requiring trains carrying certain dangerous chemicals to utilize electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes, saying the technology’s benefits were inconclusive.

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

The legislation established a new process, including independent study and testing, for the DOT to use in developing an updated regulatory impact analysis (RIA) related to the ECP brake provision, according to the Government Publishing Office. The DOT stated in 2018 that the ECP brake requirements weren’t expected to be cost beneficial under any scenario assessed.

Homendy’s thread (in part):

“THREAD on East Palestine derailment: First, a message to the community…then a plea to those spreading misinformation. To everyone affected: know that @NTSB is working vigorously to understand what caused this train derailment — so it never happens again.”

(Skipped several tweets)

“Nothing…nothing is more important than accuracy at a moment like this, which is why the NTSB is deliberate in our approach to investigations. Credibility is ESSENTIAL to our lifesaving mission. The NTSB process WORKS. See how here:

“That leads me to my last point: anyone speculating about what happened, didn’t happen, or should’ve happened is misleading a suffering community – PLEASE STOP SPREADING MISINFORMATION. For example…Some are saying the ECP (electronically controlled pneumatic) brake rule, if implemented, would’ve prevented this derailment. FALSE – here’s why…”

The ECP braking rule would’ve applied ONLY to HIGH HAZARD FLAMMABLE TRAINS. The train that derailed in East Palestine was a MIXED FREIGHT TRAIN containing only 3 placarded Class 3 flammable liquids cars…This means even if the rule had gone into effect, this train wouldn’t have had ECP brakes.”

“For a reminder of the history on ECP, see this graphic from @USGAO. The Dec 2015 FAST Act directive (below) resulted in PHMSA withdrawing the ECP brake rule on September 24, 2018…I urge you: let the NTSB lead the #safety analysis. Anything else is harmful — and adding pain to a community that’s been through enough.”

Buttigieg, or his staff, retweeted the first and second to last tweets in the thread by Homendy. Did he read the whole thing?

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Kristinn Taylor has contributed to The Gateway Pundit for over ten years. Mr. Taylor previously wrote for Breitbart, worked for Judicial Watch and was co-leader of the D.C. Chapter of He studied journalism in high school, visited the Newseum and once met David Brinkley.

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Thanks for sharing!