WASHINGTON, D.C. – Pennsylvania U.S. Senator John Fetterman submitted a statement for the record and multiple questions to remotely participate in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s hearing on Protecting Public Health and the Environment in the Wake of the Norfolk Southern Train Derailment and Chemical Release in East Palestine, Ohio. Senator Fetterman’s full statement can be found here, and a video of Committee Chair Tom Carper reading part of Fetterman’s statement can be found here.
A full list of Senator Fetterman’s questions can be found here.
“We cannot sit by and allow executives at big companies like Norfolk Southern to operate as if the health and safety of communities like Darlington Township and East Palestine are expendable. We cannot allow these communities to continue to be forgotten and left behind,” writes Senator Fetterman in the statement.
“I’m working with my colleagues across both state and party lines to fight for the forgotten people of Pennsylvania and Ohio, hold Norfolk Southern responsible for the damage they’ve caused, and prevent similar disasters from happening in the future,” Senator Fetterman continued.
“Our work together in the wake of this disaster has been two-fold. First, we’ve done everything we can to support Pennsylvanians and Ohioans affected by the disaster in the short-term, namely advocating for resources and compelling Norfolk Southern to detail how they will make these communities whole… While working toward these important short-term solutions, we’re also fighting to prevent similar disasters from happening in the future. To that end, Senator Casey and I worked with Senators Brown and Vance to introduce the bipartisan Railway Safety Act of 2023, which would take much needed steps to improve rail safety protocols and keep American families safe,” he continued.
Sens. Fetterman and Bob Casey (D-PA) have worked tirelessly to support Pennsylvanians and Ohioans impacted by this disaster in the short-term, namely advocating for resources and holding Norfolk Southern accountable for the harm the derailment has inflicted, in addition to working to prevent similar disasters from happening in the future.
Sen. Fetterman wrote to Shaw about the company’s legal and moral obligation to the residents of East Palestine and Darlington Township, demanding answers on how the company plans to be an active member of response and clean-up operations. He pressed EPA on its plan to hold Norfolk Southern accountable for releasing hazardous materials into the air and water. He wrote to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to share rail safety concerns they have heard from constituents, rail experts, and railroad workers as NTSB conducts its investigation into the derailment. And finally, he worked with Sen. Casey and Congressman Chris Deluzio (D-PA) to urge Norfolk Southern to provide assistance to Pennsylvanians in Darlington Township after repeated reports that Pennsylvania residents were being turned away at the Family Assistance Center in East Palestine.
The Pennsylvania Senators also joined with Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and J.D. Vance (R-OH) to introduce the bipartisan Railway Safety Act of 2023 which would take much needed steps to improve rail safety protocols and prevent future train disasters like the derailment that devastated East Palestine and Darlington Township. The bill will take key steps to improve rail safety protocols, such as enhancing safety procedures for trains carrying hazardous materials, establishing requirements for wayside defect detectors, creating a permanent requirement for railroads to operate with at least two-person crews, increasing fines for wrongdoing committed by rail carriers, and more.