WASHINGTON, D.C. - The EPA Administrator visited East Palestine, Ohio to assess the hazardous Norfolk Southern train derailment that happened nearly two weeks ago. The Administrator will meet with people and residents about the impacts of the crisis. The EPA is still screening homes in the area, testing air and water quality but health and safety concerns from locals remain high. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are sharing those same concerns. 

Part of Representative Mike Kelly’s (R- PA) district is nearby East Palestine. We’re told he was briefed again by the EPA on the situation. Kelly said he is monitoring the potential long-term impacts on air and water quality in western PA, particularly in Lawrence County and towns near the crash site. His team is encouraging people near the area to get their air and water quality testing at their home. Testing is for free. Click here to find out more information on testing.  

Ohio’s governor announced he is seeking to get more federal assistance to help with the site. The White House said the administration has boots on the ground.  

“There is a multi-agency response to what is occurring in East Palestine and we take this very seriously,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. “We are committed to making sure the safety and health of the community is addressed and as you just heard me say the EPA Administrator is on the ground currently and the President has been in regular touch with the Governor.” 

Senators Bob Casey (D- PA) and John Fetterman (D- PA) say they’ve heard concerns from their constituents on the derailment and have sent letters to the EPA. They’re pressing the agency to hold Norfolk Southern accountable for releasing hazardous materials into the air and water. Senators also sent a letter to the National Transportation Safety Board, better known as NTSB. They want NTSB to investigate why and how the train derailed to prevent future derailments involving hazardous materials in Ohio, Pennsylvania and across the country. In the letters from Fetterman and Casey, they also say they will be pressing the Department of Transportation to conduct new analysis and act to improve railroad safety practices to prevent future derailments.