The Beltway newsletter is running ads about the railroad industry’s alleged commitment to safety as rail lobbyists fight new safety rules.

by Andrew Perez, The Lever

In the wake of Norfolk Southern’s fiery train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, some Washington lawmakers and Biden administration officials have started considering tougher regulations on trains carrying hazardous materials.

To try to shut down this new regulatory push, the railroad industry’s top Washington lobbying group is going back to its old playbook: sponsoring Beltway news outlets’ discourse-shaping tip sheets. That includes running ads that look like native content touting rail companies’ alleged commitment to safety in Politico’s Huddle newsletter, a so-called “play-by-play guide to all things Capitol Hill,” all while the industry urges policymakers to hold off on issuing new regulations.

a derailed train off its tracks

“When it comes to safety — 99.9 percent is not enough,” say the ads, which are sponsored by Association of American Railroads (AAR), which lobbies for railroad companies like Norfolk Southern. “While 99.9 percent of all hazmat shipments that move by rail reach their destination safely, we know a single incident can have significant impacts. That’s why America’s freight railroads will never stop working to improve safety and protect communities, workers, and the environment.”

Read More