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New bill will study health impacts of Ohio train disaster

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Residents of East Palestine, Ohio are one step closer to federal funds that could help address the health impacts of the Norfolk Southern train derailment that happened in February 2023.

16 months after a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed, the long-term health impacts worry the people of East Palestine, Ohio. 

“As we know, lives were turned upside down,” Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio.) said.

Joyce and Ohio Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur want to help ease concerns.

Their bill would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to give grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements to universities and research institutions in the region to do voluntary health studies and give a final report in five years.

“I know that there’s smarter people out there who can gather this information and look at the people who’ve been affected by it and be able to make some intelligent decisions about what their best recourse may be,” Joyce said.

Lawmakers say the community has been asking for help to understand the potential health risks they face.

“We have a responsibility and duty to address the community’s concerns. I am honored to co-lead this bipartisan legislation which would secure the necessary funds to better understand the long-term health impacts that residents and neighboring communities face,” Kaptur said. “While we cannot undo what has been done, we can put every possible effort forward to ensure that the railroads are held accountable for their negligence and that those impacted are made whole.”

Both Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) are pushing similar legislation in the Senate. 

“15 years from now, if these residents, God forbid, have health problems, it would be nice to be able to say with confidence what caused those health problems,” Vance said.

Vance says the bill is needed because the Biden administration was not helpful.

The White House pushed back, saying the Biden administration was on the ground in East Palestine on day one. 

Source: Fox 8 News Channel

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