Thursday, April 25, 2024

Review - S 4045 Introduced – East Palestine Health Monitoring

Last month, Sen Vance (R,OH) introduced S 4045, the East Palestine Health Impact Monitoring Act of 2024. The bill would require HHS to conduct a study on the health effects of the 2023 East Palestine, OH train derailment. The bill would authorize $2 million per year through 2028 for the study.

Moving Forward

While Vance is not a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee to which this bill was assigned for consideration, one of his three cosponsors {Sen Casey (D,PA)} is a member. This means that there may be sufficient influence to see this bill considered in Committee. I would expect to see some Republican opposition to this bill because the results of such a study would likely be used to justify additional lawsuits against Norfolk Southern, the railroad involved in the incident. Still I expect that the bill would have sufficient bipartisan support to pass in Committee. I do not expect to see this bill reach the floor of the Senate, though its language could be expected to be offered as an amendment to the DOT spending bill or transportation authorization bill.


This is a little bit late (but better late than never) to be starting this sort of post-accident health effects study. To be most effective, this should start within hours or days of the incident. That cannot, of course, happen if we need to rely on the local congressional delegation to put together study legislation and attempt to push it through Congress each time such accidents happen. There should be statutes in place to require the EPA, DOT, and HHS to conduct such studies any time there a significant chemical release occurs. DOT should fund studies for transportation related incidents and the EPA for fixed site accidents.


For more details about the provisions of this bill, see my article at CFSN Detailed Analysis - - subscription required.

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