Governor Shapiro Visits Small Business Resource Fair in Darlington Township as Administration Supports Beaver and Lawrence Counties Following Train Derailment
May 17, 2023
The Departments of Environmental Protection and Agriculture hosted a small business resource fair in latest action by the Shapiro Administration to support local small businesses, farmers, and residents impacted by the Norfolk Southern train derailment.
Darlington Township, PA – Today, Governor Josh Shapiro, Acting Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Rich Negrin, and Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding visited the Shapiro Administration’s small business resource fair in Darlington Township. Governor Shapiro and Secretaries Redding and Negrin met with small business owners, farmers, and residents who have been impacted by Norfolk Southern’s train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio at the resource fair and thanked Commonwealth staff from the Pennsylvania Departments of Environmental Protection (DEP), Agriculture (PDA) and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), who have been supporting the community since the derailment on February 3.
“My Administration has been on the ground in Western Pennsylvania since the first hours of Norfolk Southern’s train derailment, and we will continue to be here to support the people and communities that have been impacted,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “Every step of the way, my Administration has made clear that we are focused on delivering the help our communities need and holding Norfolk Southern accountable. Today’s small business resource fair is an important example of the support we can provide by bringing people together and connecting Pennsylvanians with resources and information.”
Today’s fair included tables with resources to keep small business owners informed about impacts on their operations from local, state, and federal agencies including PEMA, DEP, PDA, the Pittsburgh Small Business Development Center, the Environmental Management Assistance Program, the Beaver County Conservation District, the Lawrence County Conservation District, Representative Marla Brown, the Small Business Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Other groups in attendance included the Beaver County Chamber of Commerce, Beaver County Commissioners, the Darlington Township Board of Supervisors, and the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. More information on the Commonwealth programs offered can be found here.
The Shapiro Administration’s Continued Commitment to Supporting Affected Communities in Western Pennsylvania
The Shapiro Administration has been on the ground supporting Western Pennsylvania since the beginning of the train derailment. In February, Governor Shapiro sent a letter to Norfolk Southern Corporation CEO Alan Shaw expressing serious concerns regarding the company’s management of its train derailment and vowing to hold Norfolk Southern accountable.
A few weeks later, Governor Shapiro secured an initial, multi-million dollar commitment from Norfolk Southern to reimburse the emergency management teams who responded to the crisis and to establish a community relief fund in Beaver and Lawrence counties to support impacted residents.
The Department of Health (DOH) opened a health resource center in February where DOH, DEP, and PDA had staff on hand to connect residents with healthcare providers, to help them sign up for independent water testing, and to provide guidance on food and animal safety. The DOH extended that support in March by establishing a health resource network to directly connect residents with local health care providers in Beaver and Lawrence counties to meet their long-term health needs.
The Department of Environmental Protection continues to conduct independent water sampling and the Department of Agriculture is conducting ongoing soil and plant tissue sampling to closely monitor contamination risks related to the East Palestine derailment. DEP recently launched a new interactive mapping tool that shows final sample results from soil and water testing. The Department of Agriculture, meanwhile, launched a hotline for concerned farmers and producers, and has conducted plant tissue sampling at properties in Darlington to monitor for contamination.
Governor Shapiro and his Administration have met with Beaver County elected officials, emergency management leaders, and residents to learn what they need from the Commonwealth since the very beginning of this crisis, and the Governor remains focused on supporting Pennsylvanians affected by this incident.
Pennsylvania continues to see no concerning air, soil, or water quality readings following the train derailment. For more information on the Shapiro Administration’s coordinated response, visit PEMA’s dashboard here.
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