During an appearance on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Monday, Sen. JD Vance (R-OH) slammed the President Joe Biden’s administration over the recent train derailment in Palestine, Ohio, which unleashed toxic chemicals into the air and water.
“We’ve had hundreds of train derailments after we spent over a trillion dollars on infrastructure in this country,” Vance said, “So the fact that this isn’t getting obviously better is a major indictment of the people spending the money and what they’re spending the money on.”
Vance continued his critique, touching on comments Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg made earlier that day in a press conference regarding a supposed racial disparity among construction workers, claiming they are primarily Caucasian.
Vance criticized Buttigieg’s comments as misplaced concerns and called for a redirection of attention to failures, not racial makeup of workers.
“My constituents in East Palestine have been some of the main victims of the fact that we have failing infrastructure in our country,” Vance said.
Vance was referring to a 50 car train derailment that occurred Feb. 3, with the effects of the crash proving to be a pressing topic for the residents of East Palestine, OH. Ten of the cars on the derailed train were transporting hazardous materials.
Unable to physically move the cars, the decision to conduct a controlled burn was made. While residents were evacuated for the operation, returning residents as well as those outside of the evacuation zone have reported concern for their health and safety.
In a posting by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Feb. 12, the hazardous chemical list carried by the trains was revealed to include vinyl chloride, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, ethylhexyl acrylamide, isobutylene and butyl acrylates.
The EPA has engaged in indoor and outdoor testing of air quality and community air monitoring since the controlled burn.
Sue Dunlap, who lives just outside the evacuation zone, told News 5 Cleveland she didn’t feel safe in her home anymore.
“I don’t see a choice that I have to leave. It’s just like, well, if it can get over there, why can’t it come here?” she stated, adding that she has laundered everything she could and now only uses boiled water for consumption.
Vance echoed the residents’ concerns, saying, “So the problem we have, Tucker, is that we are ruled by unserious people who are worried about fake problems instead of the real fact that our country is falling apart in some of the most important ways.”
“You mentioned the Environmental Protection Agency. Of course, it says it right there, it should be focused on clean air, clean water, it’s the thing that I’m most focused on for the people of East Palestine,” he added.