NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Local leaders are looking for ways to make the railroads safer around the state.
All eyes have been on East Palestine, Ohio and Sandstone, West Virginia after both cities experienced train derailments, causing chemicals to leak into the environment.
South Carolina Representative Wendell Gilliard says its familiar territory for him.
“I used to work at chemical plant. I know the importance and seriousness of these types of incidents,” Rep. Gilliard said.
Monday afternoon, leaders have turned their focus to the Lowcountry.
“We had better get to this and be proactive instead of reactive,” Rep. Gilliard said.
Representative Gilliard met with other lawmakers and railroad industry leaders to work on cooperation between the two groups.
“As to have the railroads give us quarterly updates as things pertaining to training, things along that line, networking with local civic groups, neighborhood associations,” Rep. Gilliard said.
They also discussed a bill being introduced in the state house, that would require proof that railway workers are being trained regularly.
“To show us, state government, people that are interested in these type of activities. They have to show us how they are improving on their safety,” Rep. Gilliard said.
Representative Gilliard says his hope is that the resolution and bill will hold railways in South Carolina accountable and will help protect communities from these kind of disasters.
“You saw the results in these other states, it seems like they are now happening every other month. We’re in a state where we have a lot of rail shipments going to and fro so we have to take these kind of actions as to call them to the table,” Rep. Gilliard said.
Representative Gilliard said this is only the first of many meetings they’re planning to have.
They want to continue the discussion on this issue.
He says the railroad CEO’s at the meeting Monday are planning to come to Columbia when the bill is introduced.