Senate Resolution 50
By Senators Blair (Mr. President), Azinger, Barrett, Boley, Caputo, Chapman, Clements, Deeds, Grady, Hamilton, Hunt, Karnes, Maroney, Martin, Maynard, Nelson, Oliverio, Phillips, Plymale, Queen, Roberts, Rucker, Smith, Stover, Stuart, Swope, Takubo, Tarr, Taylor, Trump, Weld, Woelfel, and Woodrum
[Introduced March 11, 2023]
Strongly urging West Virginia’s congressional delegation to support legislative measures to improve federal enforcement of safety standards for railroads in West Virginia, following a series of train derailments directly impacting the health and safety of West Virginia citizens.
Whereas, West Virginia has two Class I railroads and 11 short line or regional railroads, with 2,401 route miles of track;
Whereas, Railroads in West Virginia intersect with many major roadways and waterways throughout the state;
Whereas, On February 3, 2023, a Norfolk Southern train derailed near the border of West Virginia, in East Palestine, Ohio, and spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals into waterways that impact drinking water for West Virginians;
Whereas, On March 8, 2023, a CSX-operated train derailed near Sandstone, West Virginia and spilled an unknown quantity of diesel fuel and oil into the New River;
Whereas, During the 2023 Regular Session of the West Virginia Legislature, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary heard testimony from the state’s Public Service Commission citing over 1,000 health and safety citations issued against railroads, as well as testimony from individuals in the railroad industry describing deteriorating conditions of railroad bridges;
Whereas, The federal government regulates the nation’s railroads pursuant to its powers under Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution;
Whereas, Any failure to adequately enforce federal standards for railways creates an unacceptable threat to the health and safety of West Virginia’s citizens, waterways, and infrastructure; therefore, be it:
Resolved by the Senate:
That West Virginia’s congressional delegation is strongly urged to support legislative measures to improve federal enforcement of safety standards for railroads in West Virginia, following a series of train derailments directly impacting the health and safety of West Virginia citizens; and, be it
Further resolved, That the Clerk of the Senate forward a copy of this resolution to West Virginia’s congressional delegation and the Attorney General of the State of West Virginia, who is strongly encouraged by the Senate to investigate and pursue legal recourse against regulators or railways for violations of health and safety standards.