Railroad Industry Sues to Block Safety Protocol Imposed After East Palestine Derailment
The industry is against a minimum crew number increase
The railroad industry has sued to block a new minimum crew-size requirement that Ohio imposed after a fiery, dangerous train derailment in East Palestine in February. The Feb. 3 derailment along the Ohio-Pennsylvania border of a train carrying toxic chemicals prompted Ohio's new legislation. The lasting impacts of the wreck continue to affect life, work and health in the region months after it took place.
The new rule was part of a $13.5 billion state transportation budget that Govenor Mike DeWine signed in March. It mandated a two-person crew for freight trains and required that the wayside detectors used to help spot problems be installed in shorter intervals of 10 to 15 miles (16 to 24 kilometers) apart, with oversight from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), among other provisions.
The railroad industry said one-person crews “have been used safely for decades,” as well as that Ohio lacks the authority to impose a two-person minimum. In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on June 29, a day before the rule was set to take effect, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) argued that federal law broadly gives federal agencies exclusive jurisdiction to regulate rail transportation.
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