Ohio, Pennsylvania Senators introduce new bipartisan railroad safety legislation
U.S. Senators from both parties from Ohio and Pennsylvania have teamed up to introduce legislation to prevent future derailments following the recent disaster in East Palestine.
Senators including Ohio's J.D. Vance and Sherrod Brown and Pennsylvania's Bob Casey and John Fetterman have introduced the Railway Safety Act of 2023.
The legislation would take a number of 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 wrongdoings committed by rail carriers and much more.
Senator Vance says this legislation will give folks peace of mind that their communities are protected from an incident like this ever happening again.
"Action to prevent future disasters is critical but we must never lose sight of the needs of the Ohioans living in East Palestine and surrounding communities. One day, the TV cameras will leave and the news cycle will move on, but the needs of those Ohioans will remain," Vance said.
Senator Brown says that it shouldn't have taken an incident like this to spark officials to work together for the people they serve rather than companies like Norfolk Southern.
"Rail lobbyists have fought for years to protect their profits at the expense of communities like East Palestine, Steubenville and Sandusky. These common sense bipartisan safety measures will finally hold big railroad companies accountable, make our railroads and the towns along them safer and prevent future tragedies so no community has to suffer like East Palestine again," Brown said.
Senator Casey highlighted the impact the derailment had on folks living and/or working in both Ohio and Pennsylvania.
"The Norfolk Southern train derailment left Pennsylvania and Ohio families, businesses and first responders grappling with a disaster that spilled hazardous materials in their community. It shouldn't have happened here and it shouldn't happen anywhere else in America," Casey said.
Other senators sponsoring the bill include Florida's Marco Rubio and Missouri's Josh Hawley.