Readout of Federal Railroad Administration and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Activities in East Palestine, O.H.
EAST PALESTINE, OH — Today, officials from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) traveled to East Palestine, O.H., as the U.S. Department of Transportation continues to support the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in their investigation into the cause of the Norfolk Southern derailment on February 3.
FRA Administrator Amit Bose and PHMSA Deputy Administrator Tristan Brown took part in a scheduled inspection of the 11 derailed tank cars involved in the Norfolk Southern incident and toured the site of the derailment with firefighters, rail car owners, support staff from Norfolk Southern, and the NTSB. This inspection is a necessary step in the ongoing investigation to identify failure mode and mechanism, looking for conditions of the tank car that do not comply with the regulation or the design requirements, as well as photographing and documenting the tank cars.
In the afternoon, Administrator Amit Bose and Deputy Administrator Tristan Brown gathered with representatives from the United Transportation Union (Smart TD), Brotherhood Of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees (BMWED), Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS), Brotherhood Railway Carmen (BRC), and International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) for a listening session focused on actions to increase safety and prevent further incidents like the one in East Palestine.
During the listening session, first responders and firefighters thanked DOT officials for their visit and prompt response to the incident in addition to the emergency training grants available through PHMSA.
In recent years PHMSA’s hazardous materials grant programs have helped to train over 3000 first responders across Ohio including IAFF firefighters that responded to this derailment.
First responders and labor leaders also provided feedback to DOT officials on steps they believe would help improve safety.
Today’s visit is part of the work DOT has been doing for weeks to help get to the bottom of the derailment.
Earlier this week, Secretary Buttigieg and the Department of Transportation called for significant reforms for the freight rail industry, including paid sick leave for workers, and raising the existing caps on fines for rail safety regulations—to see the full list click HERE.
For more on the federal response to support East Palestine, Ohio — including the role of FEMA, and the EPA — click HERE.