WASHINGTON (March 9, 2023) — The following statement regarding the hearing held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works to examine the train derailment and chemical release in East Palestine, Ohio can be attributed to Chris Jahn, president and chief executive officer of the American Chemistry Council (ACC):
“The tragic events related to the derailment and release of chemicals and their impacts on the community of East Palestine, Ohio has understandably raised questions and concerns.
“We share the committee’s goal to advance safety and protect public health and the environment. We also share the committee’s gratitude to the emergency responders, government officials and rail workers for their tireless efforts.
“We should carefully examine the factors that contributed to this derailment and other rail incidents and review the emergency response procedures so we can learn from them. ACC and its members are committed to being responsible stewards of their products, including the transportation of chemicals.
“Chemicals are essential for growing food, protecting the safety of our water and food supply, producing energy and making life-saving medicines and equipment. From farms to factories, more than 25 percent of the U.S. economy depends on chemistry. We ship chemicals because the country needs chemicals to support virtually every aspect of daily life.
“Railroads are vital to chemical manufacturing and rail is considered the safest overland transportation mode for shipping chemicals. Chemical manufacturers own or lease rail cars used to ship our products, including tank cars equipped with special safety features to help prevent a release during a derailment. Shippers have made significant investments in recent years to upgrade their tank car fleets and will continue to do so.
“Rail safety is a shared responsibility. Safety initiatives and regulations must address the entire safety equation, which includes preventing derailments, avoiding releases and supporting emergency response.
“Shippers and rail carriers, along with the federal government, have made steady progress on rail safety by working together and there is more we can accomplish. We continue to learn new details about the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation with more to come. ACC wants to work with policymakers and our transportation partners to apply the lessons from the East Palestine derailment so the products of our industry can be delivered without incident.”