Derailment in Ohio: the Senate wants to look into rail transportation safety


The derailment of the Norfolk Southern train forced the evacuation of thousands of area residents as emergency crews extracted chemicals from tanks in order to burn them.

Ms Cantwell noted in a letter to executives of Norfolk Southern and six other railways, including Canadian National and Canadian Pacific, that the train contained 20 cars containing vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, and isobutene, 11 of which derailed.

All railroads must re-examine their practices for transporting hazardous substances to protect their employees, the environment and American families.

A quote from Maria Cantwell, Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee

Although there were no casualties, residents of the small village of East Palestine and the surrounding area are constantly concerned about the risks to their health. The companies to which the senator addressed her letter did not respond immediately.

Standards to be reviewed

The Railroad Association of America believes the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation must be completed before any changes to existing safety rules are made.
Senator Cantwell stated in her letter that over the last five years, the major railroads have reduced their workforce by one-third, closed facilities where rail cars are inspected, and allowed longer and heavier trains to run. The Association made no response to Ms Cantwell’s statements.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg emphasised the importance of improving rail safety on Thursday, noting that there are approximately 1,000 train derailments in the United States each year.

Likewise, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine challenged Congress on this issue. He lamented that states have little authority to request information on the types of hazardous substances that cross their borders.

The chosen one hopes that a full-fledged presidential commission or hearings will be announced to get to the bottom of things and prevent such a tragedy from happening again.

The White House is defending itself

The Biden administration was defensive about its response to the February 3 derailment on Friday. The White House has promised to send more resources.

Several federal agencies have worked together to support the residents of East Palestine, explained White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre during a briefing.

The federal government is committed to ensuring that this community receives all the assistance it needs. We will be on the ground as long as it takes. 

A quote from Karine Jean-Pierre, spokesperson for the White House

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Friday that medical and toxicology teams would be dispatched to other texts. Amit Bose, the head of the Federal Rail Transportation Administration, will be on-site next week.

In a letter, Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw explained that his company established a million-dollar relief fund in addition to providing the equivalent of $1.7 million in direct assistance to approximately 1,100 families and businesses affected by the incident.

Mike DeWine stated on Friday that the column of polluting smoke moving along the Ohio River, a source of drinking water for 5 million people, had dissipated. He stated that state samples show that municipal water supply systems have been free of contaminants.

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