(GoRealNewsNow.com) – Alan Shaw, the CEO of Norfolk Southern railroad, is set for a rough hearing in the US Congress next week, in which he will testify about the freight train derailment and toxic spill in East Palestine, Ohio.
The derailment on February 3, followed by fires and controlled explosions, led to the evacuation of half the town’s nearly 5,000 inhabitants. The Biden administration’s reaction to the disaster has sparked outrage among locals and nationwide critics alike.
On Wednesday, Norfolk Southern announced that its CEO had agreed to testify before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
In the hearing next Thursday, he will have to answer hard questions about the railroad’s safety standards, especially since it has cut jobs and begun using fewer and longer freight trains, Newsmax reported.
Several US lawmakers have already proposed legislation changes to reform railroad transportation safety after the East Palestine, Ohio catastrophe.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the derailment was probably caused by an overheating bearing. The incident sent 38 freight cars off the tracks, including 11 full of hazardous materials.
Norfolk Southern CEO Shaw has declared the company’s commitment to helping the affected town. He also said train safety reforms should be delayed until the NTSB completes its investigation. That, however, may drag on for over a year.
“[Shaw and other railroad officials] continue to engage in discussions with Members of Congress and other committees about additional requests to testify while balancing his commitments to the remediation process and the community,” Norfolk Southern has stated.
Democrat US Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio told reporters on Wednesday that Shaw should commit the railroad company to pay for the short-term and long-term consequences of the train wreck.
“We want to hear his commitment to making this community whole, to make this so that people can get back to their lives the way they were. That means reimbursement for all the expenses,” Brown declared.
Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) insisted that Shaw testifies in Congress because his company was responsible for the derailment.
“The American people should hear from Norfolk Southern’s CEO precisely why they thought it was a good idea to spend years — years — lobbying to loosen regulations designed to prevent accidents like this,” the New York Democrat declared on the Senate floor.
“I especially want to hear why Norfolk Southern, after seeing a record $3.3 billion in profits last year, prioritized billions— billions — in stock buybacks instead of putting that money toward safety and towards their workers,” he added.
On Tuesday, the Federal Railroad Administration issued an advisory telling railroads to check their maintenance and usage of track detectors for spotting overheating bearings before their failure.
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The CEO of Norfolk Southern railroad will testify in Congress next week about last month's fiery Ohio derailment and the precautions the railroad takes to prevent similar crashes. https://t.co/slvi6zVmGt
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) March 1, 2023