GASP was honored to join U.S. Rep. Summer Lee and fellow environmental and community advocates Tuesday to demand stronger rail safeguards for communities and tout legislation the congresswoman introduced this week to prevent train derailments like the one in East Palestine from happening to another town.
Lee is co-sponsoring the DERAIL Act introduced by U.S. Rep Chris Deluzio, D-Aspinwall, a bill that would broaden the definition of high-hazard flammable trains. You can read more about that bill here.
Here's what our Executive Director Patrick Campbell - who was flanked by Lee, state Rep. Sara Innamoroto and our friends at PennEnvironment, Climate Power, Clean Air Moms, and 412 Justice - said at the event:
Good morning. I’m happy to be standing alongside colleagues and elected officials today who are working to make our region a safer and healthier place to live.
For 54 years GASP has been at the forefront of advocating for regulations and policies that protect air quality and create a safe place to live for every single person - no exceptions.
Because we know that stronger regulations and more robust enforcement are necessary to safeguard public health from polluters more concerned with strong financial returns for investors than the well-being of their employees and the people who live in their operational footprint.
Unfortunately, our neighbors in East Palestine and Beaver County learned firsthand how weak regulations can have devastating consequences. So do our neighbors in the Mon Valley, who routinely wake up to some of the worst air quality in the nation.
Just today, the Liberty-Clairton area had the distinction of having the most unhealthy NowCast AQI in the nation. Take a deep breath, you may still be able to smell the tell-tale sulfury stench.
But despite these challenges, the people living in these communities aren’t powerless victims. Daily, they’re fighting for better protection from polluters and working to make their neighborhoods healthy places to live and play.
But they can’t do it alone. They need elected leaders who will stand up and say, “Enough is enough.” Not just in their words - but by crafting commonsense legislation to deal with the threats facing our community.
Norfolk Southern has tallied three train derailments in Pittsburgh over the past two months. The time is now to put better safeguards in place to ensure that what happened in East Palestine doesn’t happen anywhere else.
The press conference drew myriad media members. Here's some of the coverage:
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