Rozzi: East Palestine derailment disaster highlights dangers of corporate greed, deregulation

HARRISBURG, Feb. 17 – Speaker of the House Mark Rozzi issued the following statement in light of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, that threatens environmental disaster in the surrounding areas:

“The photos and videos coming out of East Palestine following the Norfolk Southern train derailment are heartbreaking. The people of East Palestine and the surrounding areas, including Western Beaver County in Pennsylvania, don’t deserve to live in fear of breathing the air outside their homes or drinking the water that comes out of their faucet.

“Let us be clear about one thing; this environmental disaster falls at the feet of corporate greed and efforts to diminish regulations. Rail workers have been warning of a disaster like this for years as companies like Norfolk Southern skirt regulations and decrease personnel in the name of supposedly lowering costs and making record profits. Let it not be forgotten that our last Republican president overturned regulations that by 2023 would’ve required more efficient brakes on railcars that haul dangerous and flammable chemicals.

“This is exactly what’s wrong with the bundled constitutional amendments in Senate Bill 1 and why I resisted the House Republican leader’s efforts to force my colleagues to vote on weakening regulations and providing justice for victims of childhood sexual assault at the same time.

“I strongly encourage Norfolk Southern to use some of their record profits earned last year to do everything possible to protect the people and environment impacted by this derailment and urge other legislative leaders at the local, state and federal level to reexamine the importance of regulations on keeping the people we represent safe.”