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Sen. Carper to hold committee hearing on Ohio train derailments

Rachel Sawicki
Delaware Public Media
Senator Tom Carper

Senator Tom Carper is holding a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on the two recent train derailments in Ohio.

“Apparently the one in Springfield in the western part of Ohio for the most part is empty box cars and there’s no hazardous materials," Carper says. "Having said that, the idea that not one but two Norfolk southern trains have derailed in the last couple of weeks in the same state is cause for real concern.”

The hearing is this Thursday and features two panels – the first with Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and JD Vance and Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey.

Carper says for the second panel, they have invited Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw, witnesses from the Ohio’s Environmental Protection Agency, Chief Engineer of the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, and Chief of Hazardous Materials Response from Beaver County’s Department of Emergency Services, to determine what happened in both derailments, and how to prevent it from happening again.

“Are these the exceptions or is this something that we need to be even more concerned about?" Carper says. "Are there adequate rules and regulations in place? Are they being adhered to? And we’ll get to the truth on Thursday.”

Carper says the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee he chairs is known for its bipartisanship, and expects productive results from the panel.

Although Carper says cleanup began almost immediately, he notes they will also be discussing health concerns that residents in East Palestine are still facing after the February 3rd derailment there.

More than 700 tons of contaminated soil and nearly two million gallons of liquid have been collected from the derailment site with much more left to clean up under the order of the EPA.

Rachel Sawicki is Delaware Public Media's New Castle County Reporter. They are non-binary and use they/them pronouns.