WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBN) – Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA) and John Fetterman (D-PA) have introduced legislation that would help support first responders on the front lines of hazardous train derailments, like the one in East Palestine.
The Assistance for Local Heroes During Train Crises Act would create a new fund that is paid for by the companies that ship and carry materials. The fund would provide emergency responders with the financial resources needed to replace equipment, pay workers overtime, address other urgent costs and compel railroads to notify officials when transporting hazardous material.
“Too often, cities and towns have no warning that hazmat is traveling through their communities, and they don’t have the resources and training they need to respond if a derailment happens,” said Senator Brown. “I’ve spoken with local officials, first responders, and residents on the scene in East Palestine, and I’ve heard the challenges these local heroes faced responding to this accident. Ohio communities should not have to foot the bill for corporate negligence and greed.”
“The Assistance for Local Heroes During Train Crises Act will help our communities better prepare for future derailments and cover the cost of damaged equipment, overtime pay, and more—all paid for by the companies that ship and carry these materials. Along with the Railway Safety Act, this legislation will help keep our communities safe from hazardous train derailments and hold railroads accountable for the damage these crises inflict,” said Senator Casey.
Senator Brown testified last week at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing prior to Norfolk South CEO Alan Shaw’s testimony. Brown called for Norfolk Southern to pay for the response in order to make things right with the East Palestine community.