ICYMI: The Shapiro Administration Continues to Support Pennsylvanians, Ensure Accountability After Norfolk Southern Train Derailment
February 24, 2023
HARRISBURG, PA – Since the February 3 Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, the Shapiro Administration has led a coordinated response to keep Pennsylvanians safe and informed while working to hold Norfolk Southern accountable.
This week, Governor Shapiro joined U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine in East Palestine to provide an update on shared efforts to keep residents safe. Governor Shapiro also visited residents in Darlington Township, Beaver County who received water testing from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
This week, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) launched an online train derailment dashboard in coordination with other relevant state agencies to keep Pennsylvania residents informed with accurate and timely information. The dashboard is accessible at https://www.pema.pa.gov/derailment.
Last week, the DEP announced it will conduct independent water sampling to monitor water contamination risks. Pennsylvania continues to see no concerning air or water quality readings following this incident. Air and water monitoring have been in place since the incident began and no concerning readings have been detected thus far.
DEP is currently contacting residents within a two-mile radius of the train derailment site to initiate water testing. Concerned residents who are beyond the two-mile radius are encouraged to reach out to DEP to request testing by calling 412-442-4000.
Governor Shapiro has also taken steps to ensure that Norfolk Southern is held accountable for the train derailment. After the incident, Governor Shapiro sent a letter to Norfolk Southern Corporation CEO Alan Shaw expressing concerns regarding the management of train derailment. The Shapiro Administration announced this week that it is working with the local fire companies who responded to the derailment to ensure they are reimbursed by Norfolk Southern for the costs of all contaminated equipment.
Read what people are saying about The Shapiro Administration’s response.
Fox43: Online train derailment dashboard aims to keep Pennsylvanians better informed about safety concerns
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) announced yesterday the launch of an online tool to better inform Pennsylvanians concerned about the Feb. 3 East Palestine train derailment.
The online train derailment dashboard is a joint effort with other state agencies to assuage Pennsylvanians’ safety concerns after the incident and be transparent in the ongoing air and water monitoring.
“As clean-up efforts continue, our agency wants to make sure residents had an easily accessible online resource containing accurate and relevant information to refer to if they have questions,” said PEMA director Randy Padfield. “Our priority continues to be ensuring that every concerned resident has the information and resources they need to make important health and safety decisions for their families.”
The agency reports that no concerning readings have thus far been detected in the commonwealth’s air or water since testing began shortly after the incident.
ABC27: Governor Shapiro says Norfolk Southern will reimburse fire crews
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration is working to ensure fire departments in western Pennsylvania are reimbursed by Norfolk Southern for the costs of replacing all equipment contaminated during the response to the East Palestine train derailment.
Fire stations in Beaver, Lawrence and Washington counties have reported contaminated turnout gear, hose and Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), along with some drop tanks for water supply operations. […]
“First responders answered the call – their departments deserve to be made whole and we expect Norfolk Southern to quickly reimburse any department that responded to the derailment and needs to replace equipment. My administration will continue to hold Norfolk Southern accountable for any and all impacts on the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Shapiro.
ABC4: Gov. Shapiro to Beaver County, East Palestine: ‘Our administration stands with you’
Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro was one of more than a dozen high ranking officials in East Palestine, Ohio, Tuesday as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered Norfolk Southern to pay for the cleanup of the East Palestine train wreck and chemical release.
“It is my view that Norfolk Southern wasn’t going to do this out of the goodness of their own heart. There’s not a lot of goodness in there,” said the Democratic governor, adding, “They needed to be compelled to act.”
The governor says his administration’s top priority remains the health and safety of Pennsylvania residents impacted by the derailment, specifically those in Beaver County.
NPR: Governor’s office in Pennsylvania makes a criminal referral in Ohio train derailment
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said the state’s acting attorney general is investigating whether criminal charges were warranted in the derailment of a Norfolk Southern Railroad train just over the state line in East Palestine, Ohio.
Shapiro blasted Norfolk Southern’s “arrogance and incompetence” in an interview with Morning Edition’s Leila Fadel on Wednesday, saying the railroad didn’t participate in unified efforts with emergency services from Pennsylvania and Ohio after the derailment.
“We made a criminal referral to the office of attorney general. They’ll determine whether or not there was criminal activity,” Shapiro said. “What I know is that Norfolk Southern is governed every day, not by caring about the communities that they send their trains through, but by corporate greed.”
The Washington Post: Pa. governor accuses train company of mishandling Ohio derailment
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) chastised Norfolk Southern for putting emergency responders and community members at risk by not working with state leaders two weeks ago when one of the company’s trains derailed, unleashing highly toxic chemicals and causing the train cars to catch fire, displacing residents.
Shapiro’s letter to Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw is the most prominent finger-pointing since the Feb. 3 derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, which is near the Pennsylvania border. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said Tuesday that additional federal assistance wouldn’t be needed, despite President Biden offering help. […]
But Shapiro in his letter wrote that Pennsylvania’s environmental and emergency management departments found that Norfolk Southern did three things that “put the safety of our first responders and residents at significant risk.”
He started by saying that Norfolk Southern staff made their own plan without coordinating with state agencies, forcing those agencies to react without knowing the plan’s details.
He then wrote that Norfolk Southern “gave inaccurate information and conflicting modeling about the impact” of the controlled release of chemicals, which made it harder for the state to protect people in the immediate aftermath of the derailment.