Congresswoman Summer Lee pushing for federal rail safety regulations after train derailments

PITTSBURGH — Congresswoman Summer Lee says she lives along railroad tracks in Swissvale and she’s fighting for families who cannot control the safety of the trains that roll right through the neighborhoods.

“Had this catastrophe happened here, there’s no question that the bomb train would have resulted in casualties,” Congresswoman Lee, who represents Pennsylvania’s 12th district, tells Channel 11 News.

Lee says if the fiery East Palestine derailment happened in the city, 170,000 residents and workers would have been in the blast zone, along with our most critical infrastructure, from our hospitals to bridges and tunnels.

Lee is pushing for federal rail safety regulations to be passed, including the DERAIL Act. She is an original co-sponsor of the bill, which would put stricter regulations in place that were rolled back during the Trump administration.

“Ensuring that we have better inspections of our braking system, making sure the workers have been trying to sound the alarm are able to and making sure there is a two-man crew,” Lee explained.

Those regulations include notifying municipalities ahead of hazardous materials moving through towns.

“In case of a hazard, how do we prepare if our officials, our fire and EMS are not being notified that these trains are even coming in,” Lee added.

And if there is a disaster, Lee says rail companies must be held accountable with punishments and penalties that discourage the same thing from happening over and over.

The DERAIL Act is currently in a subcommittee on railroads, pipelines and hazardous materials.

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