Exclusive–J.D. Vance: U.S. Taxpayers Footing the Bill for Norfolk Southern’s Train Derailment in East Palestine

Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH) American taxpayers are already footing the bill for the disastrous Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

Last month, the Norfolk Southern train derailed in East Palestine, population less than 5,000, leaving chemicals to drip into the community’s environment. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources estimates that more than 43,000 fish and other aquatic animals have died as a result.

In an exclusive interview with SiriusXM Patriot’s Breitbart News SaturdayVance told Breitbart News Washington bureau chief Matt Boyle that it was crucial for the Republican Party to represent the interests of East Palestine residents, as opposed to the railroad industry looking to avoid a public relations crisis and stricter federal oversight.

He listens:

“We can’t forget these people… This city is not getting cleaned up in a timely manner and this is a complete failure of government, a total failure of every institution in our country that should take care of vulnerable people… They didn’t do that,” Vance said. It happened to them and they deserve to be made perfect.”

In particular, Vance noted that it was the American taxpayers who were left to pay for such a disaster caused by the Norfolk Southern Company, a powerful railroad with enormous influence in Washington, DC.

“We’re talking about the chemical spill but there are all these implications,” Vance said. There are farmers who can’t sell their hay, they can’t sell chicken eggs because people are afraid that East Palestine is too polluted. There are small companies that are completely bleeding.”

Vance continued, “Think about what happened during COVID, but now it’s just a small town where everything just closed… There are still people who can’t go home.” “A lot of that is going to fall on American taxpayers through higher welfare payments, through people losing their home value… So if it’s going to fall on the American taxpayer, why would we allow any company to exercise that risk socially?”

United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

Vance, along with Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John Fetterman (D-Pen.), Bob Casey (R-Penn), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), introduced legislation from It would increase fines for railroad companies that raise such problems in local communities.

Vance said Republicans should stand by protecting their constituents from big corporations like Norfolk Southern rather than representing corporate interests that already have broad influence in D.C.

“When you cause trouble, you have to pay for it,” Vance said of Norfolk Southern. “Unfortunately, in this type of disaster, a large portion of it will be paid for by the American taxpayer. Whether we like it or not, that’s just the way it works in our current system.”

He continued, “When people are suffering, I think one of the primary functions of the Republican Party has to be to make sure it’s complete.” “And that is something we have to stay on top of in Norfolk Southern. Again, I have nothing against the company, but they have caused this problem, and we have to make sure they do it right by the people of East Palestine.”

We are not trying to create an organizational system here but we do want the train [companies] To pay when they cause these problems, and I think that’s totally fair and proper.”

Alana Mastrangelo/Breitbart News

Vance’s legislation would also require railroad companies to notify local firefighters and other first responders when hazardous chemicals move through their communities.

Vance said of his legislation: “…the most important thing it does is it gives firefighters proper notice.” “The thing that happened in East Palestine…will continue to happen, because these trains were wrecked with dangerous chemicals and these firefighters don’t know what’s going on.” [the trains]Because the train companies do not have to notify the local authorities of what is happening.”

“Our legislation is changing that, and I’ve heard from some types of Republican institutions that this is a violation of the free market in a way,” Vance said. “These railroads have grown quite right with big government through a whole bunch of ways, but recently, three months ago, they were bailed out by government in the form of feds, and Joe Biden and others, came in and settled the labor union issue that the railroads had. “.

He continued, “You can’t tell me this is the free market when you sleep with big government and beg for big government privileges.” “…there’s this slight old GOP vibe that if you do anything for business it’s in some way a violation of Republican principles, but they need to wake up and realize, it’s us on the side of the firefighters and police officers who respond to these disasters – not the big rail companies that have grown with the government and cause it to happen.”

Petroleum chemicals float to the surface of the water in Leslie Run Creek after being shaken up from sediment at the bottom of a creek on February 20, 2023, in East Palestine, Ohio after a train derailment sparking health concerns. (Michael Swensen/Getty Images)

A local chapter of the Proud Boys distributes water, food, and cleaning supplies to residents of East Palestine on February 25, 2023 in East Palestine, Ohio. (Michael Swensen/Getty Images)

Residents gather to circle a prayer after a train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, US, on Thursday, February 23, 2022 (Matthew Hatcher/Bloomberg via Getty Images

East Palestine residents express their concerns at a city council meeting convened by River Valley Organizing, a non-profit organization based in East Liverpool, on February 23, 2023 in East Palestine, Ohio. (Michael Swensen/Getty Images)

Wade Lovett, 40, poses for a photo along Leslie Run Creek on February 22, 2023 in East Palestine, Ohio. Lovett was working for Rollerena Auto Sales when a Norfolk Southern train derailed on February 3, causing 38 of about 150 cars to fall off the tracks and set fire to cars carrying hazardous materials. As the train burned, Lovett says it kept running until residents and businesses were forced to evacuate. (Michael Swensen/Getty Images)

The debacle in East Palestine is a partial failure of President Joe Biden’s administration, Vance said, noting that the president refused to visit residents in the community, even as former President Trump went to the small town just weeks after it derailed.

“Right now in eastern Palestine there are thousands of tons of toxic dirt,” Vance said. “So from the derailment, the chemicals seeped into the soil, so we have to dig that stuff up. I polluted the soil and got it out of there to the proper facilities and disposed of it. There are piles of toxic dirt out there on the land of East Palestine, you know why? Because the administration Joe Biden is making it difficult to move these things to proper disposal sites.”

“I’m not making this up. If you go to East Palestine, you’ll see these mounds of dirt now,” Vance continued. “You have people who are afraid of air quality, water quality. After 36 days, their city has yet to be cleaned up for the leadership failures of the Biden administration.”

“It’s going to have long-term economic consequences because of this,” Vance said. “Think about what would happen to home values, property values, people’s mortgages, people’s small businesses if you had this chemical cloud in your city of 5,000 people. The effects would be significant and we can’t ignore that and forget about it.”

As Breitbart News detailed, Norfolk Southern’s influence in Washington, D.C., is broad among Republicans and Democrats.

In the past year, political action committees (PACs) have associated with Norfolk Southern I donated Nearly $1 million to Republicans and Democrats as well as bipartisan leadership organizations, such as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee, and National Republican Congressional Committee.

Norfolk Southern PACs also donated directly to Sens. Katie Brett (R-US), Tim Scott (R-SC), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Todd Young (R-N) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) , Jerry Moran (R-KS), John Bozeman (R-KS), Patty Murray (D-WA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), John Hovine (R-ND), Mike Lee (R-UT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), John Thune (R-SD), Rand Paul ( R-KY), Richard Burr (R-NC), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Eric Schmidt (R-MO), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Lisa Murkowski (R -AK), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here.

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