Pennsylvania senators Bob Casey and John Fetterman, as well as Ohio counterparts Sherrod Brown and J.D. Vance, sent joint letters to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) pressing the agencies over the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
The letter to the EPA saw the senators press the agency on its plan to hold Norfolk Southern accountable for releasing hazardous materials into the air and water. In addition, the quartet 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.
The foursome’s letter to the NTSB 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,” read the letter to the EPA. “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.
“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,” read the letter to the NTSB. “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.”
Norfolk Southern has announced that its representatives will not attend a public forum this evening in East Palestine because they are “increasingly concerned about the growing physical threat to employees” due to what the corporation says is the “increasing likelihood of the participation of outside parties.”