DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Both of Ohio’s senators were in East Palestine Thursday assessing the ongoing response to the train derailment, along with the next steps.
A bipartisan call for action as both Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown and Republican Sen. JD Vance were in East Palestine Thursday.
Brown joined the EPA’s administrator for a press conference. He said the government needs to continue to hold Norfolk Southern accountable for the disaster it caused.
“That means accountable for the tests for people to move back in, accountable for all the cleanup that will take weeks,” Brown said. “I don’t know how long, but at least weeks to assure people that the water safe in the air is safe in the soil, is safe for their children, for the 4000 plus residents here.”
Vance answered questions on the streets of East Palestine, saying he reached out to the CDC earlier this week. He’s looking for answers on what levels of contamination are acceptable, and says he’s still waiting.
“We don’t know at what level this chemical, these chemicals are dangerous to people,” Vance said. “We need to find that answer out so that people can have confidence that when they test their well water and they’re well, water comes back with a particular reading, That reading is marked either safe or not.”
Vance said he also wants to see supports for residents, including long-term testing in the area.
“You want to make sure that people aren’t having unpredictable, unnecessary health problems months, years in advance,” Vance said.
Brown said he is working on what’s needed to create a notification system for when a hazardous material train will pass through a community.
“We’re going to try to get FRA or NTSB to do it, but we think we might need a change in federal law,” Brown said.
Also Thursday, Gov. Mike DeWine sent a letter to the CDC to request on-the-ground assistance and address health concerns in East Palestine.