A tanker truck sits in a trailer in East Palestine, Ohio, Wednesday, February 15, 2023, as part of a southern Norfolk freight train derailed more than a week ago continues to be cleaned up. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
WASHINGTON—Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg sent a letter to the CEO of Norfolk Southern on Sunday, warning that the freight rail company “must show clear support to the people” of East Palestine, Ohio and the surrounding areas. . Chemicals and number of residents expressing health concerns.
“Norfolk Southern must live up to its promise to keep its people healthy, and its obligation to do whatever it takes to stop endangering communities like East Palestine. No,” Buttigieg wrote. “Now is the right time for Norfolk Southern to demonstrate leadership in the rail industry and shift its focus to support, not undermine, efforts to raise the bar on rail safety regulations in the United States. .”
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said on Friday the chemicals that spilled into the Ohio River are no longer dangerous, with people in the community saying they have constant headaches and irritated eyes. and plans to open clinics in villages of 4,700 people to analyze symptoms, despite repeated statements that testing of water showed no signs of contaminants.
Still, uncertainty remains about the impact of the derailment that occurred about two weeks ago.
Peter DeCarlo, a professor of environmental health engineering at Johns Hopkins University, told ABC News on Sunday that more tests are needed to determine which chemicals are present.
“We don’t have the information we need to understand what chemicals might be present,” says DeCarlo. “I know it started with vinyl chloride, but as soon as it burns, all bets are off.
Asked if he would return to East Palestine if he had already lived there, DeCarlo said: I wouldn’t… “
Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw issued a statement on Saturday saying, “Today, I will be returning to Eastern Palestine to meet with local leaders, first responders and a group of Norfolk Southern employees who live in the area.” Did.
“In all our conversations today, I shared how deeply sorry this happened to their home,” Shaw said. I created a website NSMakingItRight.com to post it.
The Secretary of Transportation’s letter Sunday was taken as a stark warning to Norfolk Southern, stating:
Buttigieg said the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the derailment, and the Federal Railroad Administration is also analyzing whether a safety violation occurred and will hold Norfolk Southern accountable if a violation does occur. Stated.
The Environmental Protection Agency says the company must document releases of hazardous pollutants and outline cleanup activities.
But Buttigieg also said Norfolk Southern and other railroads had “spent millions of dollars in court, lobbied legislators against common-sense safety regulations, forced some outright shutdowns, and forced other railroads to shut down.” We have reduced the scope of the company,” he said. He said the effort would weaken the rules on braking requirements and phase in more durable rail vehicles for transporting hazardous materials “in 2025” instead of “originally envisioned” by 2029. I said it was delayed for a year.
The Secretary of Transportation said the results of the investigation were not yet known, but said, “These measures, lobbied by Norfolk Southern and its associates, will improve rail safety and keep Americans safe. I know it was intended to help