Ohio and Pennsylvania Democrats have come together in the wake of the devastating and toxic East Palestine train derailment to carry out justice, pressing for railway safety reform to prevent such corporate greed-fueled disasters from happening again.
Senators Brown, Fetterman, and Casey are leading the charge for a sweeping overhaul of rail regulations, not only to prevent similar tragedies but to also stop corporations from taking advantage of lax oversight and safety protocols due to what the trio has called greedy corporate interests.
Fox Business reports, in response to the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, earlier this year, three Democratic U.S. senators introduced legislation to increase rail safety regulations.
Sens. Bob Casey and John Fetterman introduced the Railway Accountability Act, which builds on the bipartisan Railway Safety Act of 2023 introduced earlier this month by Brown and Ohio Republican Sen. Sherrod Brown. Pennsylvania senators co-sponsored J.D. Vance, a bipartisan bill.
The lawmakers say the new bill would direct the Federal Railroad Administration to investigate the causes of wheel-related derailments, which were determined to be the cause of the East Palestine accident involving a Norfolk Southern train, and explore further potential regulations that might prevent them.
Additionally, the FRA would have to make public safety waivers from Class I railroads and railroads would have to provide more warning equipment.
Labor unions representing railroad workers support the legislation, including the Transport Workers of America (TWU), the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers (NCFO), and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Rail and Transportation Workers-Mechanical Division (SMART-MD).
The Republicans are not quiet when it comes to the massive train disasters that have been occuring.
Fox News reports, as a result of a train carrying toxic gas derailed in East Palestine, Ohio last month, Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, is urging Republican colleagues on the Senate Commerce Committee to ask Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw whether he supports a key part of the Railway Safety Act.
As part of his bipartisan legislation to strengthen regulatory standards in the name of preventing such incidents, Vance sent an internal memo to Republican Senate offices ahead of Wednesday’s hearing that outlines proposed lines of questioning.
According to a copy of the document obtained by Fox News Digital, the conservative freshman senator suggested lawmakers ask Shaw about a penalty aspect of the bill.
In accordance with Vance’s document, the maximum fine for safety violations is roughly $225,000. According to Vance’s bill, the penalty would rise to 1% of a railroad’s annual operating income.
Following the toxic train derailment that disrupted East Palestine residents’ lives roughly a month ago, he introduced the Railway Safety Act with Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. Despite local and state officials’ assurances that air and water quality are safe, Ohioans and residents in nearby Pennsylvania have reported nausea and dizziness as a result of the accident.
As the tragic events of this year have proven, corporate greed and corruption has been allowed to run rampant for too long. The horrific train derailment in East Palestine revealed a shocking amount of malfeasance from those involved and it was beyond time for Senators Brown, Fetterman and Casey to call for increased railway safety regulations. After the toxic disaster, the public outcry for justice opened up the conversation about reform and compromise amongst Democrats on both sides of State lines. It is both disgraceful and shameful that these measures were not taken sooner, yet there is a sense of optimism with these new reforms that hopefully no similar tragedy will ever occur again.