Governor Shapiro Makes Criminal Referral in Ohio Train Derailment

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said his office has made a criminal referral in response to the recent train derailment over the border in East Palestine, Ohio, and the aftereffects on the environment and nearby communities.

Shapiro shared the information at a news conference in East Palestine with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan and other officials. A reporter had asked what actions the governors might take, such as penalizing Norfolk Southern, the rail company involved in the Feb. 3 derailment.

“We’ve made a criminal referral to the acting attorney general in Pennsylvania to review, and acting Attorney General [Michelle] Henry can speak to that beyond my comments,” Shapiro said.

In a statement, Henry’s office said it was “outraged” on behalf of residents suffering from the impacts of the derailment and confirmed that it had received the criminal referral.

“We have just received a criminal referral from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and will act quickly to investigate this incident, gather the facts, and then evaluate the evidence to make a determination under Pennsylvania law,” the statement said. “Pennsylvanians have a constitutional right to clean air and pure water, and we will not hesitate to hold anyone or any company responsible for environmental crimes in our Commonwealth.”

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