Buttigieg to visit Ohio derailment 'when the time is right,' amid criticism over his response
"When the time is right, I do plan to visit East Palestine. I don't have a date for you right now," Buttigieg said.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said he would visit the site of the train derailment and toxic chemical burn in East Palestine, Ohio, "when the time is right" amid criticism over the Biden administration's response to the incident.
Nearly three weeks after the Norfolk Southern train derailment, Buttigieg does not have a specific date he plans on visiting Ohio.
"When the time is right, I do plan to visit East Palestine. I don't have a date for you right now," Buttigieg said Monday, CNN reported.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday the Environmental Protection Agency ordered Norfolk Southern to conduct all derailment cleanup and said if the rail company failed to complete the necessary work, the government would attempt to compel the company to pay triple the cost.
Buttigieg said he is working on projects that will improve rail safety and defended his decision to not visit the site Tuesday while on "Good Morning America."
"People who were there because they have a specific job to do and are there to get something done. And people were there to look good and have their picture taken," he said.
East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway told Fox News that it is the "biggest slap in the face" that President Joe Biden has not visited his town but instead opted to visit Ukraine.
Train derailments have steadily declined in recent years from 1,340 in 2019 to 1,094 in 2021, the most recent year government data was available.