CINCINNATI, OH – Senator JD Vance (R-OH) is launching a renewed push to pass the Railway Safety Act, marking 250 days since the tragic derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. Senator Vance released a video today highlighting the consequences of the derailment for the local community.
“Two hundred and fifty days have passed since the disastrous train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. Yet Congress has still not passed commonsense railway safety legislation to prevent something like this from happening again,” said Senator Vance. “Enough is enough – it’s time for the Senate to pass the Railway Safety Act.”
In addition to pushing for Congress to pass commonsense rail safety legislation, Senator Vance calls on the Biden administration to implement the following measures:
- A Federal Disaster Declaration in East Palestine: Governor DeWine’s plea for a federal emergency declaration for East Palestine has been ignored by the Biden administration. President Biden must promptly issue an emergency declaration and acknowledge the severity of the situation in East Palestine.
- Indoor Air Quality Testing: Many East Palestine residents live in fear over the safety of the air they breathe as a direct consequence of the derailment. Yet concerns over indoor air quality have largely been dismissed by the EPA. East Palestine residents deserve the peace of mind which indoor air testing can provide.
- Improve Public Health Monitoring: The Biden administration has failed to implement baseline medical testing for the community after the derailment. This leaves substantial unanswered questions regarding potential long-term health effects. Resources must be mobilized to ensure long-term health risks are being appropriately monitored.
- Creek Cleanup in East Palestine: Even 250 days after the derailment, petroleum-based contaminants remain visible in the creek waters. Yet the EPA’s cleanup focus is only just now turning to the waterways. The Biden administration’s slow pace is endangering the health and safety of East Palestine residents. Swifter action is necessary.
- Long-Term Health Support: The future health of East Palestine residents and first responders remains uncertain. Almost half of the first responders surveyed reported new or worsening health symptoms. While current law allows the federal government to take steps such as expanding health coverage for victims exposed to environmental health hazards, the Biden administration isn’t taking any concrete steps towards addressing residents’ potentially wallet-crushing health care liabilities.
- The Railway Safety Act passed the Senate Commerce Committee in May and is now awaiting a vote on the Senate floor.
- President Donald J. Trump has endorsed the legislation.
- Senator Vance and President Trump visited East Palestine together in February to survey environmental damage and meet with first responders.
- Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has endorsed the legislation.
- The legislation is supported by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Mike Braun (R-IN), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Eric Schmitt (R-MO).
- The Railway Safety Act has been endorsed by conservative organizations such as the Center for Renewing America, American Compass, and the American Principles Project.