WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBN) – Lawmakers are reaching across the aisle to help make sure that residents in East Palestine are getting all the safety precautions they need.
U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; JD Vance, R-Ohio; Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania and John Fetterman, D-Pennsylvania have joined together to express their concerns to the EPA about the release of hazardous material following the East Palestine train derailment.
The lawmakers sent a letter Wednesday to EPA Administrator Michael Regan saying that while they appreciate the agency’s response and continuing work, they are concerned about the groundwater across the region of the derailment. They also talked about reports of animals dying and other environmental impacts.
“Hundreds of families were forced to flee their homes and are now rightfully concerned about long-term health risks associated with exposure to the toxic chemicals released,” the letter said. “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.”
The group is asking the EPA to use its authority under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 to make sure that Norfolk Southern pays for cleanup, compensates residents and businesses and continues to monitor the land, air and water in East Palestine, Darlington Township and other impacted communities until the long-term effects of exposure are fully understood.
The letter goes on to highlight the exposure first responders and others had prior to the controlled release of vinyl chloride and after.
“The impacted communities need further monitoring and assurance of the safety of their homes, their water, and their soil,” the letter said.
In addition, the lawmakers provided the EPA with several questions that they are awaiting answers to that involve the following:
- Commitment to continued air, water and soil monitoring and the resources available to do that.
- How long it expects remediation to take.
- What more can Norfolk do?
- What is the short and long-term plan to monitor first responders?
You can read the full list of questions in the letter sent to the EPA.