Congressman Ryan demands CSX adopt safety standards to prevent disaster in Hudson Valley

Congressman Pat Ryan and Newburgh Mayor Torrence Harvey

HUDSON VALLEY- Congressman Pat Ryan, in response to the railway disaster in East Palestine, OH, penned a letter to CSX President & CEO Joseph Hinrichs demanding the company adopt additional safety standards to prevent an event similar from taking place in the Hudson Valley.

According to Ryan, CSX trains often carrying toxic materials have derailed repeatedly over the past several years, including in the Hudson Valley.

Ryan, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee, also made an urgent call for a congressional hearing on rail safety, which falls under the jurisdiction of this committee.

“We’ve seen a disturbing pattern of CSX consistently putting profit over safety, creating serious risk that what happened in Ohio could repeat itself right here in the Hudson Valley,” said Representative Pat Ryan.  “Just like Norfolk Southern, CSX and other big rail corporations spent millions lobbying the last President to deregulate the railways, resulting in the administration withdrawing a proposal to require faster brakes on trains carrying highly flammable materials and ending regular rail safety audits of railroads.  The American people are now paying the price for this corporate greed.  I’m calling on CSX to immediately and proactively adopt common-sense safety standards, and demanding that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hold a hearing so that we can protect families in the Hudson Valley and across the United States.”

Ryan believes that the company can afford to do more to ensure the safety of its workers, and the residents of the communities through which the company’s trains operate.  Last year, CSX reported an operating income of $6 billion.

 “Just a few years ago, a CSX derailment in Newburgh spilled 4600 tons of diesel fuel – I am worried a future derailment could cause even more damage,” said Newburgh Mayor Torrance Harvey.  “To wait any longer to make these safety changes is unacceptable.  CSX cannot stand by while communities of color like mine sit on what feels like a ticking time bomb.”

Concerns also exist with respect to the track infrastructure, and in particular aged bridges.  “As recently as 2021, the Hudson 7 notified CSX of potential bridge failures and the concern that a bridge failure could lead to hazardous chemical and oil spills and contamination of the Hudson River and the Esopus Creek,” said Village of Rhinebeck Mayor and Chair of the Hudson 7 Gary Bassett.  “These seven municipalities in Dutchess and Ulster Counties provide drinking water to 106,000 residents, three hospitals, three colleges, and major regional employers.”

The CSX River Subdivision runs 131 miles through the Hudson Valley and New Jersey, including the cities of Newburgh and Kingston and the town of Saugerties which are in direct proximity to the Hudson River.  Ryan charges that any incident involving hazardous cargo transported by these trains could be catastrophic, threatening the drinking water of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.

Popular Stories