Ohio Senate Committee to Hold Hearing on Derailment

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A group of state senators, including Sen. Michael Rulli of Salem, R-33rd, will meet next week to review the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine.

The first hearing of the Senate’s Select Committee on Rail Safety is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Senate Finance Hearing Room. If the Senate’s voting session runs past that time, the committee will convene immediately after the chamber adourns.

“The derailment devastated the people in my district,” said Rulli, vice chair of the committee. “I’m grateful that my colleagues in the Senate want to find ways to help.”

State Sen. Bill Reineke will chair the committee, which will take testimony and question state agency officials and experts working on the scene in East Palestine. 

“Ohioans see trains every day, and in some communities, it is a way of life, as children count the rail cars with their parents while stopped at a crossing,” Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, said. “The mission of the Senate Select Committee is clear. We need a complete understanding of why it happened, where the recovery stands now, and determine exactly how the Ohio General Assembly can best help our neighbors in East Palestine recover.”

Live coverage of the committee will be provided by The Ohio Channel.

Biden Receiving Updates

The White House announced that President Joe Biden was receiving updates Friday on the federal government’s response to the derailment from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell. 

Buttigieg was updating the president on his visit to East Palestine on Thursday to view the site of the crash and meet with workers and local officials. He was also outlining the National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report, which was released Thursday.

Regan was updating Biden on the EPA’s order directing Norfolk Southern to pay for all cleanup actions related to the derailment. Becerra and Criswell were outlining the federal support and coordination HHS, FEMA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are providing to assist with on-going health and safety support for East Palestine.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.