Brown vows to fight for East Palestine on anniversary of derailment

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 8, 2024

Crews remove one of the rail cars from tracks in East Palestine. On Feb. 3, a train derailed and caused a fiery crash that released vinyl chloride into the air and into the Ohio River. (U.S. EPA)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ahead of last week’s one-year anniversary of the hazardous train derailment in East Palestine, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, spoke on the Senate floor on Tuesday to recognize the resilience of the town, and continue the fight to hold Norfolk Southern accountable.

Since the hazardous Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine on Feb. 3, 2023, Brown’s office said the senator “has fought to make the community whole, hold the big railroad companies accountable, and prevent another tragic derailment.”

“When I think about the East Palestine, I don’t just think about a train derailment. I think about resilience,” Brown said. “The people of East Palestine want the support and the compensation they are owed. But they do not want this derailment to define them. I don’t want that either. And I don’t want any other community in Ohio or around the country to have to deal with a disaster like this ever again.”

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Brown is fighting to pass his bipartisan Railway Safety Act of 2023 to prevent future train disasters like the derailment that devastated East Palestine. 

The legislation drafted, with U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, will take a number of key steps the senators say will 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. 

The legislation advanced out of the Senate committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation last May with strong bipartisan support. Brown is pressuring the Senate to bring the Railway Safety Act to the floor for a vote.