Following an announcement of a visit by former President Donald Trump, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has planned its first visit to the site of a hazardous Ohio train crash.
The Feb. 3 train crash in East Palestine, Ohio caused a significant spill of a number of dangerous chemicals. Much of the volatile mix was burned off in a controlled burn, while leaked chemicals are causing thousands of dead fish and other animals nearby.
Following criticism of the Biden Administration’s response, former President Trump announced his own visit to the area. After this announcement, FEMA announced its own response team headed to the area, two weeks after the initial crash.
Tomorrow, we'll supplement federal efforts by deploying a Senior Response Official & a Regional Incident Management Assistance Team to support ongoing operations, including incident coordination & ongoing assessments of potential long term recovery needs.https://t.co/pVLIm5tE3h
— FEMA (@fema) February 18, 2023
Former President Trump is planning a trip to the devastated area next week. Current President Joe Biden has not announced such a trip, nor has taken one to the affected region since the crash.
The former president said in a statement that he would travel to the area Wednesday. “The people of East Palestine need help.”
The move comes as the former president plans a visit to the devastated area. President Trump has been one of the loudest voices calling for a more complete response to the crash.
Critics from both the political left and right rebuked the response time of federal agencies to the emergency. In particular, much of the attention focused on Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who has yet to visit the site.
During a recent conference, the cabinet secretary discussed what he described as racial equity issues instead of the crash in Ohio.
Buttigieg’s response was met with fierce opposition from political leaders. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called for his resignation, stating that Buttigieg’s conduct persisted since taking over the Department of Transportation two years ago.
“Even after acknowledging the tragedy, he continues to deflect any accountability for the safety of our nation’s rail system,” the senator said.
The member of Congress representing the affected site was also strongly critical, stating that the secretary “hasn’t shown up.” Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) told Fox News that Buttigieg received an F for his response to the spill. Johnson added that he had not yet been contacted by the secretary.