(CNN) — A series of Republican House committees are seeking to launch investigations into the toxic train disaster in East Palestine, Ohio, several aides to the committees have told CNN.

Republican lawmakers vow to use their oversight power to probe into what they describe as the Biden administration’s flawed response to the train accident, which has left East Palestine residents afraid to breathe city air and municipal water after that a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed on February 3.

They have also left the door open for hearings on the issue, including the possibility of bringing in the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Michael Reganand the Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigiegto testify publicly, aides said, though such decisions have yet to be made.

The GOP’s greatest urgency for oversight comes as several lawmakers have criticized President Joe Biden for not visiting East Palestine. Biden told reporters last Friday that has no plans to travel to the site of the derailment and defended his administration’s response to the accident.

In East Palestine there is anger over the lack of responses from authorities 0:58

The House committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, Energy and Commerce, and Oversight are among the panels promising to find answers to what happened, as well as hold the Biden administration and the rail industry accountable for the consequences.

Some Republican members of the commissions are also discussing a possible field hearing in East Palestine, although no official plans have yet been made, sources familiar with the talks told CNN.

Axios was the first to report on the commission plans.

The Commerce and Energy committee has asked the EPA to appear before the panel’s Environment, Manufacturing and Critical Materials subcommittee, chaired by Republican Rep. Bill Johnson, who represents East Palestine, a committee aide told CNN.

Johnson and Energy and Commerce Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Washington State Republican, formally launched their investigation on February 17, when they sent a letter to Regan demanding answers on a timeline of events related to the train accident, a list of chemicals on board, materials related to the response from EPA and local agencies, as well as other information related to the derailment.

Timeline of the train derailment with toxic material in Ohio 2:42

Johnson and McMorris Rodgers have given the EPA until March 3 to respond to their request.

The Energy and Commerce Commission has requested a briefing for all members, a commission briefing, as well as a hearing date for EPA officials. A family source told CNN that they are still waiting for a response.

The Transportation and Infrastructure Commission plans to “keep members informed as the facts emerge,” commission spokesman Justin Harclerode told CNN. The commission is also closely watching the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation into the incident.

“The important thing is to know exactly what happened, what factors played a role in the accident and what factors did not. The commission remains committed to this issue, but no one should jump to conclusions or act without all the facts, which is exactly what the NTSB is working to provide through its investigation,” Harclerode said.

House Oversight Chairman James Comer, meanwhile, sent a letter to Buttigieg on Friday, calling the incident “a public health and environmental emergency that now threatens Americans across borders.” state”. The Kentucky Republican requested that Buttigieg turn over a number of documents related to the derailment, including when the administration first learned of the incident and communications about the handling of materials at the derailment by the Hazardous Materials and Safety Administration. pipelines.

“Chairman Comer is currently focused on acquiring the documents and information requested in his February 24 letter to Secretary Buttigieg,” Comer spokesman Austin Hacker told CNN.


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