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Casey voted with HELP Committee 19-2 to move the bill forward for full Senate consideration

Legislation would establish a public health study in Darlington and East Palestine to monitor potential long-term health impacts of the derailment

Casey has repeatedly fought for resources for Pennsylvanians affected by the derailment, working to help the community recover

Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA,) Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee on Children and Families, led his colleagues on the HELP Committee to advance his bipartisan East Palestine Health Impact Monitoring Act. The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration. This legislation would establish a five-year-long public health study with required annual reports for local experts to monitor potential long-term human health impacts in Pennsylvania and Ohio from the 2023 Norfolk Southern train derailment. In addition to Casey, the bill was co-sponsored by U.S. Senators J.D. Vance (R-OH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and John Fetterman (D-PA).

“The people of Darlington and East Palestine are still reeling from the disaster caused by Norfolk Southern’s train derailment. This bill will help give these communities the answers they deserve about the potential long-term impact of the derailment on their health,” Senator Casey said. “I am going to keep supporting Darlington families’ efforts to rebuild their lives for as long as it takes.”

The East Palestine Health Impact Monitoring Act will direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to fund a study that measures the ongoing health of residents in Darlington, PA and East Palestine, OH. With the long-term physical effects of chemical exposures from the derailment still unknown, it is critical that long-term studies be conducted to monitor for potential health changes among members of the community.

Since the Norfolk Southern train derailment in February 2023, Senator Casey has worked tirelessly to protect the health of Darlington residents. He has repeatedly pushed for the federal government to devote significant resources to expand access to clean public drinking water and increase health assistance and monitoring in the region. In March 2024, Casey delivered over $3.66 million in funding for Darlington to expand access to clean public drinking water.

Senator Casey has also fought to ensure victims of the disaster receive the resources, reimbursement, and support they need to recover. Casey has led numerous efforts to press Norfolk Southern to meet its obligation to compensate the residents of Darlington and play a significant role in the clean-up and damage remediation process. He has also pushed the federal government to hold Norfolk Southern accountable to that obligation. In total, Casey has pushed Norfolk Southern to provide $1.2 million in funding for Darlington Township.

Senator Casey has also urged the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to recognize the Norfolk Southern derailment as “of a catastrophic nature” and exempt families from being taxed on reimbursements for reasonable post-disaster necessities, such as shelter, food, and clothing. In April 2024, Casey urged IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to deliver tax relief to victims of this disaster and secured a commitment from Commissioner Werfel that the IRS will do everything in its power to help.

Casey has also made preventing future derailments a major legislative focus in the wake of the Darlington derailment. In March 2023, he introduced the bipartisan Railway Safety Act, which would take key steps to improve rail safety protocols and reduce the possibility of derailments. In May 2023, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation passed a version of the legislation on a 16-11 vote. This bill also included provisions based on Casey’s Assistance for Local Heroes During Train Crises Act to set aside funds—paid for by companies that ship and carry hazardous materials—to provide emergency responders, firefighters, and law enforcement with the financial resources needed to replace equipment, pay workers overtime, and address other urgent costs in the event of a serious derailment. Casey has also repeatedly urged the Department of Transportation and Norfolk Southern to take steps to strengthen safety protocols and decrease the likelihood of future derailments.

See Senator Casey’s full record on the Norfolk Southern derailment HERE.