Senators working to address damage, prevent a future trail derailment

Legislation has been introduced to help prevent future train disasters like the derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown, a democrat from Ohio, and JD Vance, a republican from Ohio, along with Bob Casey (D-PA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Fetterman, (D-PA); and Josh Hawley (R-MO) have introduced the bipartisan Railway Safety Act of 2023.

The legislation would include new safety requirements for trains carrying hazardous materials including mandating that rail carriers provide advance notice to state emergency response officials about what they are transporting.

It would also aim to increase rail car inspections, reduce the risk of wheel bearing failures, require two-person crews, invest in communities impacted by rail disasters, and invest in future safety improvements.

Speaking during the 2023 Ohio Farm Bureau County Presidents’ Trip to Washington D.C., Senator Brown said providing advance notice is critical to communities that could be impacted.

He also discussed tomorrow’s Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing that will cover protecting public health and the environment after the train derailment and controlled chemical burn in East Palestine.

The hearing will include Alan Shaw, the president and CEO of Norfolk Southern.

“He has released statements, but I want to hear him pledge in front of the Senate committee that they will pay for all the damage they caused,” he says.

Brown says that may include advancing federal money to the community and then the federal government getting that reimbursed by the train company. 

The first panel of the hearing will include Brown, Vance, and Casey. The second panel will include Shaw, Debra Shore, regional administrator of the U.S. EPA; Anne Vogel, director of the Ohio EPA; Richard Harrison, executive director and chief engineer of the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission; and Eric Brewer, director and chief of hazardous material response with Beaver County Department of Emergency Services.

Brownfield is on the ground in Washington D.C. with Ohio Farm Bureau.

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