Congress has done “absolutely nothing” to prevent future train derailments like the East Palestine disaster.
"Congress has done “absolutely nothing” to make railroads safer, and keeps failing to act on bipartisan legislation to prevent something like that from happening again, Rep. Chris Deluzio (D-Pa.) said in a speech on the House floor. Deluzio made the same point again in a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.)." - HuffPo
“Nero fiddled while Rome burned". MAGA Republicans waste time on political antics while toxic trains burn creating safety hazards and environmental disaster.
Use this StoryMap to follow the year of MAGA dithering, corporate greed and political lobbying by Norfolk Southern whose train crashed in East Palestine, Ohio.
Collateral damage in the way of corporate profits
Deluzio told HuffPost he doesn’t get it either, except to say he suspects influential rail companies have been lobbying members of Congress not to take any action that would mean more regulations on their business or eat into their profits. “I can’t answer for House Republican leaders,” he said. “We’re just sick and tired of being treated like collateral damage in the way of corporate profits.” - HuffPost
"A 150-car Norfolk Southern freight train carrying hazardous chemicals and other material derailed in the town of East Palestine, Ohio, on Feb. 3, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate the town for several days as the company vented and burned carcinogenic chemicals from cars involved in the fiery crash. The Environmental Protection Agency said on Feb. 12 it had not detected any "levels of concern" of hazardous substances released during or after the crash, though it said it was continuing to monitor the air throughout East Palestine, including inside at least 210 homes." - Axios
At least four other tanker cars involved in the derailment were carrying at least four other different chemicals — ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, ethylhexyl acrylate, isobutylene and butyl acrylate, according to a list sent by Norfolk Southern to the EPA, which released it on Feb. 12. - Axios
EPA steps in
"In a letter sent to the company on Feb. 10, the EPA said substances released during the incident "were observed and detected in samples from Sulphur Run, Leslie Run, Bull Creek, North Fork Little Beaver Creek, Little Beaver Creek, and the Ohio River" and were also observed entering storm drains. Ohio Department of Natural Resources officials told WEWS-TV, a Cleveland-based ABC affiliate, that it estimates the crash as of Feb. 8 has resulted in the deaths of 3,500 fish across approximately 7.5 miles of streams south of the town, though it is working with the Ohio EPA and a company hired by Norfolk Southern to determine how many fish have been killed." - Axios
How much is the MAGA Clown Caucus getting paid to do nothing?
Think about it: MAGA reps have been paid over $38 million dollars since the Ohio toxic train disaster without passing any bill to prevent such disasters.
Corporate profits over public safety
Instead of investing in the safety feature, the seven largest freight railroad companies in the U.S., including Norfolk Southern, spent $191 billion on stock buybacks and shareholder dividends between 2011 and 2021, far more than the $138 billion those firms spent on capital investments in the same time period.
The same companies also slashed their workforces by nearly 30 percent in that timeframe as part of what they called “precision scheduled railroading.” Such staffing cuts are likely contributing to safety issues in freight railways. In a recent investor presentation, Norfolk Southern disclosed an increase in train accidents over the past three consecutive years.
“The massive reduction in the workforce, attendance policies that encourage people to come to work when they’re sick or exhausted, lack of access to [paid] leave, the stress that is constantly put on workers because of how lean the workforce has become, it creates a negative culture in terms of safety,” Greg Regan, president of the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, told The Lever. - Lever News
TakeAway: Enough MAGA clowning around with your safety. Vote for President Biden and Democrats.
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