Norfolk Southern CEO on derailment: He’s ‘determined to make it right’

(NewsNation) — Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw is expected to testify Thursday at a hearing before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Shaw’s prepared remarks obtained by NewsNation show that he will highlight a long-term commitment to East Palestine and cooperation with federal agencies.

He is slated to start his remarks by apologizing to the people of East Palestine.

“I am deeply sorry for the impact this derailment has had on the people of East Palestine and surrounding communities, and I am determined to make it right,” Shaw’s remarks read.

He continues to say that he believes the company is “making progress every day,” citing that Norfolk Southern submitted a long-term removal plan for testing and sharing the results. He also insists the air and water are safe.

“The Ohio and U.S. Environmental Protection Agencies, as well as other local agencies, are continually monitoring the air and water quality in East Palestine and report that both the air and water are safe,” Shaw’s prepared remarks say.

In the remarks, Shaw says Norfolk Southern will invest in East Palestine “for as long as it takes to help the community recover” but that “financial assistance cannot change what happened.”

“To date, we have committed to reimbursements and investments of more than $20 million in total, including by helping more than 4,200 families through our Family Assistance Center located in East Palestine. Supporting first responders has been a particular area of focus, and our contributions include more than $3 million to assist the East Palestine Fire Department,” Shaw is expected to say.

He says Norfolk Southern wants to learn from the derailment and has launched new safety steps, though he did not detail those steps, based on the National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report. He also says any remediation or longer-term efforts will be implemented at the direction of the EPA.

Shaw and Norfolk Southern have come under fire since the derailment that released hazardous materials into the East Palestine community. Residents have reported health problems and many are not trusting of assurances from officials that the air and water is clean.

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