Curtis Tate Published

Months After East Palestine Derailment, Rail Safety Bill On Track For Vote

A burned up railroad tank car is seen behind a yellow piece of construction equipment in East Palestine, Ohio.
The cleanup continues from the Feb. 3 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
Oliver Morrison / WESA

It’s been seven months since the Norfolk Southern train derailment and chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio. U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito says a rail safety bill is still in the works.

Capito voted no on the Railway Safety Act when it passed the Senate Commerce Committee in May.

On Thursday, Capito said changes are being made to the bill, and she expects the full Senate will vote on it by the end of the year.

“Those issues are being negotiated right now,” she said. “I do believe there’s been commitments by, probably, Leader Schumer and others to put that bill up on to the floor.” 

No one was killed or seriously injured in the February derailment in East Palestine. But the incident raised a variety of public health and safety issues the legislation could address.

Those include notification of hazardous rail shipments to first responders, improved train defect inspection and detection, and more robust tank cars for transporting flammable liquids.