The DOT is responsible for securing and safely transporting hazardous chemicals that are derailed. In East Palestine, Ohio, the Department of Transportation allowed Norfolk Southern Railroad to release 1.1 million pounds of vinyl chloride into the environment. Instead of securing the hazardous chemical, the DOT allowed the tanker cars to be drilled out, so the chemical could be burned in pits, releasing carcinogenic plumes of dioxins into the environment. Government officials said the water there is safe to drink.
An unnamed source from the Department of Transportation (DOT) responded to Benny Johnson. He said the DOT did not take the 50-car train derailment seriously. "I'm in federal railroad," the man said. "Nobody panicked. Nobody scrambled. And it's, like, why? Why aren't we taking this seriously?"
The source revealed that DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg allocates resources based on a state’s political leanings. He said Buttigieg ignored East Palestine, Ohio because the region voted for Trump by a 70 percent margin.
"They'll step in—well we want this project because it's a blue state, no matter how bad it is," the DOT employee said. “They appoint these leaders of each group, and then they make sure the money will be directed."
"That it goes to a blue state, not a red state?" Johnson asked.
"Right," the man said.
"Do you think this was politically motivated in East Palestine?"
"Yes," he replied.
According to the whistleblower, DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg is an elitist who rarely shows up to work unless the department is “having a party or something.” He said Buttigieg “has his own dining room.” It’s “an elaborate production,” he said. “And then what they do is they come around and they want to make sure there's enough people are in the office that day so that he has people to greet.”
When the government instructed residents to return home after an evacuation on February 9, they came home to a chemical odor lingering in the air, to dead fish accumulating in rivers and creeks, and to burning sensations in their eyes, mouth, and nose. Johnson visited East Palestine during that time and said his mouth was “stinging” from the lingering chemical burn.
The DOT whistleblower gave further detail on the inner-workings at the DOT. “Years ago, they made a big fuss about trains carrying these chemicals that go through these urban areas. And now they reroute them through all these little towns." He said, "I was here 20 years, I know that they made it a point to reroute these trains so all these little towns get a shaft."
This administration does everything in their power to keep oil pipelines shut down in Alaska, but when trains that are full of hazardous chemicals derail into the countryside, the administration does not bat an eye.
He said the department is lying about train derailments being down 15 percent since covid. “We know the derailments are up,” he confessed. “They’re trying to paint that picture so as not to bring the harsh light.” He said the Department cherry-picked derailment numbers from 2020 and 2021, when fewer trains were running, so they could push a false narrative that the DOT is protecting the public. The truth is, the Department discriminates against rural America and currently prioritizes states that vote predominantly for Democrats.