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Fact Check: Was Donald Trump’s administration responsible for the East Palestine train derailment?

Derailed train cars lie in the dirt on either side of railroad tracks running through East Palestine, Ohio.
Ygal Kaufman
Ideastream Public Media
Railroad tracks bisect a dirt field where train cars lie in East Palestine, Ohio, nearly three weeks after the Norfolk Southern trains derailed.

This week, a Biden press secretary said former Trump administration officials were responsible for the East Palestine train derailment, claiming they loosened railroad regulations that would’ve prevented the wreck.

This isn’t entirely true.

During President Barack Obama’s administration, the Department of Transportation enacted a rule requiring high-hazard cargo trains to be equipped with better brakes that allow them to stop faster.

Trump said it was too expensive and repealed it in 2018.

The problem is – the train that derailed in East Palestine wasn’t designated as “high-hazard” and was already equipped with the automatic brakes Obama’s DoT pushed for.

So, the rule wouldn’t have applied even if it were still in place.

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