Senators Urge EPA to Hold Responsible Party in Ohio Train Derailment Accountable

U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; JD Vance, R-Ohio; Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania and John Fetterman, D-Pennsylvania have sent a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan expressing their deep concern about the release of hazardous materials following the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio on February 3, 2023.[0] The senators are pressing the EPA on its plan to hold the responsible party, Norfolk Southern, accountable and to ensure that the proper resources are reaching East Palestine to continue to provide assistance to the residents in and around the region.

The train derailed and caused several fires, leading to the evacuation of nearby residents due to fears of a possible explosion.[1] Authorities performed a controlled release of the toxic materials from five train car tankers on Feb. 6, and the contents were diverted to a trench and burned off. The EPA said it did not detect harmful substances at “levels of concern,” but some residents have reported feeling sick since the incident.[2]

The senators are asking the EPA to use its authority under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 to make sure that Norfolk Southern pays for cleanup, compensates residents and businesses, and continues to monitor the land, air, and water in East Palestine, Darlington Township, and other impacted communities until the long-term effects of exposure are fully understood.[3]

The Transportation Department spokesperson said that its agencies would “use all relevant authorities to ensure accountability and improve safety” once the investigation into the cause of the derailment is completed.[4]

On Tuesday, Charlie Kirk, an extreme right-wing agitator, argued that the train derailment that caused a hazardous chemical alarm in eastern Ohio is evidence that the Biden government is fighting a “war against white people.”[5] Lisa Boothe, another Fox contributor, concurred with Duffy and queried: “if this was happening in Ukraine, … would the media care more, instead of a Trump county?”[2] Boothe has misguidedly suggested that there is a link between a train derailment and the U.S. government shooting down unidentified flying objects, a power outage on Capitol Hill, an interruption of social media services, and the Federal Aviation Administration's decision to temporarily ground planes.[2]

“We need Congressional inquiry and direct action from Pete Buttigieg to address this tragedy,” said Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.[6]

0. “Pa.'s Casey, Fetterman join Ohio counterparts to call for more federal action on Ohio train derailment” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, 15 Feb. 2023,

1. “Rubio, Vance question Buttigieg on freight rail oversight in wake of Ohio train derailment” The Hill, 15 Feb. 2023,

2. “Right-wing media weaponize the East Palestine train derailment to claim white conservatives are being persecuted” Media Matters for America, 15 Feb. 2023,

3. “Brown, Vance, Casey, Fetterman, Raise Concerns with EPA on the Release of Hazardous Chemicals in East Palestine” Senator Sherrod Brown, 15 Feb. 2023,

4. “Pete Buttigieg blames Trump for Ohio train derailment amid criticism: ‘We're constrained'” Yahoo! Voices, 15 Feb. 2023,

5. “Charlie Kirk Claims Ohio Derailment Is Proof of ‘War on White People'” The Daily Beast, 14 Feb. 2023,

6. “U.S. Transportation Sec. Buttigieg addresses East Palestine derailment”, 16 Feb. 2023,