U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), John Fetterman (D-PA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and J.D. Vance (R-OH) sent joint letters yesterday to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) pressing the agencies over the train derailment in East Palestine, OH.
In the letter to the EPA, the Senators pressed the EPA on its plan to hold Norfolk Southern accountable for releasing hazardous materials into the air and water. In addition, the Senators highlighted the need to ensure the proper resources are reaching East Palestine and Darlington Township to continue to aid the residents in and around the region.
In the letter to the NTSB, the Senators highlighted rail safety concerns they have heard from constituents, rail experts, and railroad workers as the NTSB conducts its investigation into the derailment.
“We appreciate the extensive air and water monitoring operations that have begun, but the impacted communities need further monitoring and assurance of safety of their homes, their water, and their soil. Our offices are aware of reports of lingering odors and animal deaths. Additionally, there are reports that chemicals from the derailment have been found in the Sulphur Run stream and other downstream waterways. Given the rural nature of this community, many residents rely on private drinking water wells that are not connected to a public water supply system, and therefore may need additional testing from EPA to ensure the safety of their drinking water sources. We are deeply concerned for the safety of the community in the impacted area,” wrote the Senators in the letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan.
“While we are grateful no injuries or fatalities resulted directly from the derailment, we are deeply concerned about the release of hazardous materials into the air and groundwater in East Palestine and surrounding communities. Hundreds of families were forced to flee their homes, and they are now rightfully concerned about long-term health risks due to the Norfolk Southern train derailment. No American family should be forced to face the horror of fleeing their homes because hazardous materials have spilled or caught fire in their community,” wrote the Senators in the letter to NTSB Chair Jennifer L. Homendy.
“The NTSB’s independent investigation to determine probable causes of the East Palestine derailment is critical to preventing future derailments involving hazardous materials in Ohio and Pennsylvania, as well as across the nation. We will use NTSB’s findings and any pertinent safety recommendations to advance measures that Congress and the U.S. Department of Transportation can implement to prevent derailments involving hazardous materials,” the Senators continued.
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