(WKBN) – As Members of the U.S. Senate sat down to hear about last month’s train derailment in East Palestine, a number of residents from the Valley and neighboring Western Pennsylvania were seated in the gallery listening as well, admitting they don’t trust the government’s response thus far.

Jami Cozza is an East Palestine resident with questions.

“When the EPA came out after the train company already covered a toxic pit with gravel, why wasn’t anybody there watching them?” Cozza asked.

After testifying himself, Senator JD Vance, R-Ohio, told reporters the U.S. EPA needs to show more urgency with the cleanup process.

“What if it rains and that puts toxic chemicals back in the ground? What if you have further problems? What if, God forbid, a kid runs over there and plays in the stuff? You’ve got to get it out of that community,” Vance said.

And while Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw publically promised to see to it the derailment is thoroughly and quickly cleaned up, locals worry about the potential impact of smoke and fumes from the controlled burn of material on the nearby food and water supply.

“There’s many farmers in the area, growing crops, raising livestock, and this affects us all,” said Rachel Meyer, of Independence Township.

Outside the hearing room, Cozza confronted Senator Sherrod Brown, saying “How would you feel taking your child into a house that you knew wasn’t safe?”

Brown said he knows residents expect him to continue fighting for them.

“I know their anger and the frustration. I’ve seen it in my trips to East Palestine. I saw it today when a number of East Palestine families came to talk to us,” Brown said.

For now, both Brown and Vance are focused on getting their railroad safety bill passed through Congress and signed into law.