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Norfolk Southern CEO bringing apology, aid to U.S. Senate hearing

March 9, 2023 
By The Associated Press


The chief executive of one of the nation’s largest railroads is coming to a Senate hearing with an apology and a commitment to send millions of dollars to the village on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border disrupted by a fiery derailment as senators investigate railway safety and the Biden administration’s response to the disaster.

“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,” Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw says in prepared remarks released ahead of Thursday’s hearing by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Shaw says the railroad will do “the right thing” with a $20 million commitment to help the community recover.

The company has announced several voluntary safety upgrades. Senators, however, have promised a pressing inquiry into the derailment, the company’s safety practices and the emergency response to the toppling of 38 railcars, including 11 carrying hazardous materials. Federal regulators have also said Norfolk Southern must do more to improve safety.

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No one was injured in the crash, but state and local officials decided to release and burn toxic vinyl chloride from five tanker cars, prompting the evacuation of half of the roughly 5,000 residents of East Palestine. Scenes of billowing smoke above the village, alongside outcry from residents that they are still suffering from illnesses, have turned high-level attention to railroad safety and how dangerous materials are transported.


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