Sen. Sherrod Brown blasts conservatives lobbying for loose train regulations: 'They're to blame for East Palestine'
Smoke rises from a derailed cargo train in East Palestine, Ohio on February 4, 2023 (AFP)

WASHINGTON — Sen. Sherrod Brown (R-OH) wasn't shocked to hear that FreedomWorks was spotted on Capitol Hill this week lobbying against train regulations.

The conservative Washington Examiner reported the pushback on the bipartisan bill from Brown and Republican Sen. J.D. Vance (OH). In a letter to lawmakers sent Monday, the group said that all the bill does is give more power to the Department of Transportation.

"The law and the interpretations — the law started and Trump made it way worse," Brown told reporters on Thursday about former President Trump.

When asked about conservatives lobbying against his bill, Brown said simply, "Of course they are."

"Two of the longest, strongest, most powerful lobbying organizations for 100 years have been the banks and the railroads," he explained. "I mean, think about the history. They're not back; they never left. And they are doing their best — they're part of the reason East Palestine. They're part of the reason Silicon Valley [Bank] happened. And part of the reason our fix is going to be hard to do."

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) told Raw Story that they'd had problems in her state, too when it comes to rail safety. East Palestine was the 20th derailment or chemical spill by this company. And just two weeks after the spill in Van Buren Township, they almost had their 21st. So, I'm very, very concerned. So I support Sen. Brown and the efforts to strengthen rail safety because this is a company that has dramatically cut their workforce. Cut back on safety regulations and instead done stock buybacks to raise the money going into the pockets of the CEO and shareholders."

When asked about conservative groups lobbying against it, Stabenow said that the reason they focus on issues like safety regulations in the Senate is that everyday people can't do them locally in their own town.

"There are certain safety standards that benefit everyone. So the approach of just giving more tax cuts to the rails that then put it into the pockets of the CEO and shareholders has not created more safety for communities," she said.

When we mentioned the safety of drinking water in Flint, which is an issue East Palestine must now also deal with, Stabenow that it takes decades to clean up and ensure safety in the drinking water again.

"Oh yeah. Oh yeah," she said with her Michigan accent. "Whether there's lead in the water or there's chemicals in the soil. It takes decades and my heart really goes out to the community as they're dealing with this."

When Raw Story caught up with notorious Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), she said she wasn't certain about returning the regulations to the rail industry.

"I think we need a hearing on Commerce [Committee] before we can think about that regulation," she said.