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Feds tease East Palestine toxic train derailment findings

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(The Center Square) – The federal agency responsible for determining the cause of the 2023 Norfolk Southern toxic train derailment said they’ll hold investigatory hearings in June to complete their findings.

The National Safety Transportation Board announced Wednesday that it will hold back-to-back hearings on June 22-23 at the East Palestine High School in the Ohio-Pennsylvania border town where the derailment occurred just over a year ago.

The hearings will last from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., respectively, and cover emergency responder preparedness, circumstances surrounding the burning of toxic chemicals, mechanical failures and damage caused by the derailment.

The hearings will come nearly 18 months after Norfolk Southern decided to burn five derailed train cars carrying vinyl chloride, forcing an evacuation zone for residents living on either side of the Ohio and Pennsylvania border.

That decision, as well as the lasting environmental and economic damage to region, came under scrutiny in the proceeding months as residents described to The Center Square their growing distrust of both the railroad and the federal government.

President Joe Biden recently announced he will visit East Palestine later this month to assess the recovery effort.

Congressional lawmakers have also introduced the Bipartisan Railroad Safety Act in the wake of the accident, saying that derailments and preventable incidents are happening “at an unacceptable rate.”

(This is a developing story. Check back for updates.)