Railroad industry sues to limit Ohio-mandated crew sizes after E. Palestine

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The railroad industry has filed a lawsuit to block a new minimum crew size requirement imposed by Ohio after a fiery train derailment in eastern Palestine in February.

The new rule was part of a $13.5 billion state transportation budget that Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law in March. He mandated a two-person crew for freight trains and required that wayside detectors used to help spot problems be installed at shorter intervals of 10 to 15 miles (16 to 24 kilometers), under oversight by the Ohio Department of Transportation and Public. Utilities Commission of Ohio, among other provisions.

The railroad industry said one-person crews “have been used safely for decades,” and Ohio does not have the authority to mandate a two-person minimum. In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on June 29, a day before the rule took effect, the Association of American Railroads argued that federal law broadly grants federal agencies the exclusive jurisdiction to regulate rail transport.

“The crew size law is expressly preempted” by federal law, the industry told the court.

His legal challenge comes as busy freight states — hit by costly and often dangerous derailments and frustrated by federal inaction — have increasingly moved to adopt their own safety improvements, despite the likelihood of resistance. Of the industry.

The Feb. 3 derailment along the Ohio-Pennsylvania border of a train carrying toxic chemicals prompted new Ohio legislation. The lasting impacts of the sinking continue to affect life, work and health in the region months after it took place.

The most significant of the events surrounding the crash was the decision of officials and investigators to release toxic vinyl chloride from five tank cars. In order to avoid an explosion, the substance was burned, sending a huge plume of black smoke over the city and causing the evacuation of about half of its 5,000 inhabitants.

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