WASHINGTON (February 22, 2023) — The following statement can be attributed to Chris Jahn, president and chief executive officer of the American Chemistry Council (ACC):
“We commend the emergency response teams, local officials and rail workers for their tireless efforts to help keep the residents of East Palestine and their community safe. We also appreciate the hard work of the government personnel who are onsite providing support and important public health information.
“People are understandably concerned and question why we ship chemicals, including those that are classified as hazardous materials. We ship them because they are needed across the country and essential to everyday life. Chemicals are critical to providing safe drinking water, ensuring a plentiful food supply, producing life-saving medicines and medical equipment, and generating many types of energy.
“The impact of the derailment on the community of East Palestine underscores the need for a constant focus on safety. We must strive to meet the daily needs of the nation while delivering materials safely.
“The safe transportation of chemicals is a responsibility shared between chemical manufacturers, our transportation partners and the government. The transportation of chemicals requires a full range of safety measures to help prevent derailments, reduce the risk of a material release and mitigate the impacts of an accident.
“Chemical manufacturers own or lease rail cars used to ship our products, including tank cars equipped with special safety features to help prevent the release of chemicals during a derailment. Shippers have made significant investments in recent years to upgrade their fleets and will continue to do so.
“Experience has shown that advancing safety requires us to apply the lessons learned from accident investigations and rely on scientific data to determine what safety measures will deliver the greatest benefit.
“ACC and its members are committed to working with our transportation partners along with policymakers and other stakeholders to promote the safety of the products of our industry and help protect the public from future accidents.”