Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) gave an indirect answer when asked if he would drink the water in East Palestine, Ohio.
Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Brown deferred to local officials when asked whether he would drink the water contaminated by chemicals from the Norfolk Southern train derailment on February 3. Brown went on to blame the derailment on the rail company, claiming it laid off key workers and conducted stock buybacks instead of investing in safety.
“[W]ould you drink the water in East Palestine?” guest host Pamela Brown asked. “And do you think the officials there who are saying it’s safe, they should drink the water too to show the residents that they would drink it?”
“Well, I think they are,” the Senator responded. “I mean, I talked to the mayor. The mayor said definitively, emphatically, that people can drink the water. I don’t know. I don’t think the mayor has small kids. He looks a little older to me. I didn’t ask him about bathing his kids. But he has said he would drink this water.”
Brown then claimed that the derailment was caused by corporate greed on the part of Norfolk Southern. “Pamela, this is really the same old story. Corporations do stock buybacks, they do big dividend checks, they lay off workers. Thousands of workers have been laid off from Norfolk Southern. Then they don’t invest in safety rules and safety regulations, and this kind of thing happens. That’s why people in East Palestine are so upset.”
“These things are happening because the railroads are simply not investing the way they showed in car safety and in the rail lines themselves,” he said.
J.D. Vance (R-OH), has not deferred to officials on the topic of water safety. After the EPA said Wednesday that the water in the municipal well showed no quality concerns, Vance called on them to put the water where their mouth is.
“I think that if the EPA administrator wants to stand here and tell people that the tap water is safe, by all means, they should be willing to drink it,” he said.
Vance also posted a video to his personal Twitter account, where he scraped a creek bed, showing an oily sheen from chemicals in the water. “This is disgusting,” he said. “The fact that these chemicals are still seeping in the ground is an insult to the people who live in East Palestine. Do not forget these people.”
Visited a local creek in East Palestine today. These waterways are still very polluted. It’s time for Norfolk Southern to finish the cleanup. Check this video out: pic.twitter.com/4lsHBmrMJj
— J.D. Vance (@JDVance1) February 16, 2023
Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit the village on Wednesday.