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Ohio governor says making East Palestine safe 'can't happen overnight'

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine told a camera crew on Wednesday that making East Palestine safe after February's Norfolk Southern train derailment would not happen "overnight."

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Wednesday that making the village of East Palestine safe following February's toxic Norfolk Southern train derailment would not happen "overnight." 

"The whole goal here is to make this community safe. That can't happen overnight," he told a camera crew. "You can't get all the stuff out of here overnight."

The governor was returning to the site for an update on efforts to remove hazardous waste. As a part of their trip, they also visited Sulphur Run and Leslie Run. 

DeWine said thousands of truckloads were leaving the scene and that it was "too bad everybody can't see exactly what's going on." 

OHIO GOV. MIKE DEWINE RECOVERING AFTER INJURY IN EAST PALESTINE: REPORTS

"It's a very elaborate process. They're going about it methodically. But, quickly. This operation here is a 24/7 operation," the governor noted.

Cleveland's WOIO reported that heavy rain in East Palestine on Monday had resulted in increased water flow in the contaminated section of Sulphur Run, saying DeWine said any rainwater that enters the contaminated section of the creek is considered to be contaminated and vaccumed from the area. 

DeWine's visits comes as the state's two U.S. senators introduced legislation on Wednesday that would subject railroads to a series of new federal safety regulations and financial consequences. 

EPA DIRECTOR ADVISES EAST PALESTINE CHILDREN TO STAY OUT OF CREEKS, STREAMS AMID OHIO TRAIN DERAILMENT FALLOUT

Citing an early copy of the Railway Safety Act of 2023 – co-sponsored by Sens. Sherrod Brown and JD Vance – The Associated Press reported the bill aims to address key regulatory questions that have arisen from the disaster. 

Under the legislation, all trains carrying hazardous materials would face new requirements and rail carriers would need to create emergency response plans and provide information and advance notification to the emergency response commissions of each state a train passes through. It would also set train crews at a two-person minimum and increase the maximum fine that the U.S. Department of Transportation can impose for safety violations.

The bill requires long-haul railroads to pay for hazardous-materials training for local first responders and would set national requirements for installing, maintaining and placing devices designed to detect overheating bearings. The Federal Railroad Administration would be required to update inspection regulations to assure rail cars carrying hazardous materials receive regular checks by trained mechanical experts. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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