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Council Statement on Train Derailment and Concerns of Cleveland Residents

Feb 17, 2023

Cleveland (Feb. 17, 2023) – Council members recognize the seriousness of the situation of the train carrying hazardous materials that derailed in East Palestine about 90 miles south and east of Cleveland. We strongly encourage state and federal officials to address and assist the residents of that city and its neighboring cities with recovery.  

As concerns about environmental hazards have come into our council offices, we want to be clear: Cleveland’s water is safe. The Cleveland Water Department has issued a statement explaining that the events in East Palestine do not affect Cleveland’s Lake Erie Water Source. Cleveland’s air has not gotten worse after this accident. Air quality is closely monitored by the Division of Air Quality within the Cleveland Department of Public Health. 

As your representatives we will continue to monitor developments and share with you anything we learn about environmental impacts.  

To say the East Palestine train derailment is concerning to us is an understatement. Cleveland is filled with dense neighborhoods and numerous freight rail lines. A significant volume of trains pass through our neighborhoods daily, including those run by Norfolk Southern. More information is needed in order to understand hazardous materials and cargo they may carry. A derailment here - or anywhere - is a threat to our safety and our environment.  

In the coming months, Cleveland City Council will work to increase public understanding and accountability for rail safety.

Council passed a resolution in 2020 concerning Norfolk Southern cargo and routes through Cleveland. Read it here.