West Chester, Pa (February 6, 2023) – State Senator Carolyn Comitta, minority chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, today issued the following statement regarding the derailment of a train carrying hazardous materials near the Pennsylvania/Ohio border.

“In light of this terrible accident, my heart goes out to our emergency first responders and everyone impacted by the train derailment, explosion, fire, and evacuation order near the Pennsylvania-Ohio border. Because of this very dangerous situation, urgent legislative or regulatory action is needed to help prevent future disasters.

About 3.9 million Pennsylvanians live in a possible evacuation zone for such an accident. And as we are seeing in the aftermath of this accident, smoke, fire, and the release of hazardous chemicals pose significant potential risks to public health and safety, as well as environmental health.

I plan to work with environmental, public safety, and transportation organizations to enact changes that better protect communities and families, including:

  • Ensuring information about these trains and their contents is readily accessible to the public, local officials, and emergency first responders and coordinators who can develop sufficient emergency response plans and procedures.
  • Updating our infrastructure with an emphasis on public safety, including operational safety and oversight improvements, both on the railways and the trains themselves.
  • Striving to route trains carrying hazardous products through less populated areas.
  • Moving toward a cleaner, safer way of life, as many of these trains carry hazardous materials, fossil fuels, and associated products.”