Norfolk Southern CEO to testify before Congress

(NewsNation) — Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw will testify before Congress after a train derailment that released toxic chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio.

A Norfolk Southern train that included tanker cars carrying hazardous materials derailed near East Palestine on Feb. 3. Authorities did a controlled release of vinyl chloride, a chemical known to cause cancer, to avoid a more dangerous explosion.

Residents in the area were evacuated during the initial response, but many have questioned whether it’s safe to return. Some in the community have reported health problems they believe are related to the chemical exposure and many fear the air, water and ground are still contaminated.

Rail employees have spoken out, saying Norfolk Southern’s decisions to run longer trains contributed to the crash, along with a lack of regulations.

Norfolk Southern President and CEO Alan Shaw speaks to reporters, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, near the site where a freight train derailed Feb. 3 in East Palestine, Ohio, (AP Photo/Matt Freed)

The Environmental Protection Agency has said Norfolk Southern will be responsible for cleanup, but the agency will have to approve the plan. EPA Administrator Michael Regan ordered the company to comply and said if it does not, it will be charged for three times the cost of cleanup.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has vowed to increase safety regulations for railroads, while also urging rail companies to act on their own to improve safety.

The Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee is set to hold hearings on the derailment this month. According to a source familiar with the committee’s work, Shaw has accepted an invitation to testify.

Joe Khalil contributed to this story.

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