When Donald Trump was president, he proudly rolled back environmental protections, as well as rail regulations. In the aftermath of the toxic train derailment in Ohio, Trump’s record of rollbacks is coming into focus.
Trump visited the Ohio train derailment site this week to drum up support for his 2024 campaign.
But what he did not expect was for his history as president to come back to haunt him there. Trump’s Ohio trip is provoking new scrutiny of his own track record.
Trump watered down several regulations at the behest of the rail industry.
Trump’s administration withdrew an Obama-era proposal to require faster brakes on trains carrying highly flammable materials, ended regular rail safety audits of railroads, and mothballed a pending rule requiring freight trains to have at least two crew members.
On the environmental side, Trump rolled back more than 100 environmental rules in total.
He also placed a veteran of the chemical industry in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s chemical safety office, where she made industry-friendly changes to how the agency studied health risks.
In the aftermath of the derailment, thousands of fish were found dead and residents reported respiratory and skin issues as a black column of smoke rose over town.
But while Trump claimed the Biden Administration has been neglecting the town, Trump’s critics argue that the rail regulations Trump rolled back during his presidency helped set the stage for the disaster in East Palestine.
As president, Trump made rescinding regulations a major priority for his agencies, even signing an order requiring them to revoke two rules for everyone they enact.
At the same time, he said he wanted to “ensure that America has among the very cleanest air and cleanest water on the planet.”
Under Trump, experts say there was a rollback of “almost everything” on regulations on toxic chemicals.