Summer Lee Joins Public call to support Congressional legislation for railroad regulation laws (WTAE)

Apr 11, 2023
In the News

PITTSBURGH — U.S. Rep. Summer Lee (D-PA) led a delegation Tuesday supporting multiple bills in Congress that look to enforce strict regulations on the rail industry.

Lee, along with state Sen. Lindsey Williams and several environmental groups, gathered at the Kingsley Association in the city’s East Liberty Neighborhood to publicly support the DERAIL Act in the House of Representatives and the Rail Safety Act in the Senate.

Both require classifications guidelines for hazardous materials and address strict inspection and maintenance protocols for rails cars, this following the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, in February.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers are cosponsoring legislation that accuses the railroad industry of putting profit before safety by ignoring or compromising inspection standards and scheduled maintenance.

“Safety, worker safety — they have been sounding the alarm and there has been pushing back against them, repercussions for whistleblowers,” Lee said.

Unions for engineers, conductors and inspectors say the industry has attempted to do more with less for profit since 2016, compelling lawmakers to create legislation that brings back strict protocols.

“So what we’re talking about is the lack of regulations, and what we must do is implement regulations,” Lee said.

She says legislation in the Senate and House looks to hold railroad companies accountable and not risk public safety, to prevent more derailments in the future.

“We know that we have a system that when corporations are rewarded, they are going to always put profit over people. This is one of the more horrifying examples of it,” Lee said.

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