HomeNewsOhio Train Derailment: Norfolk Southern CEO Issues Apology to East Palestine Residents

Ohio Train Derailment: Norfolk Southern CEO Issues Apology to East Palestine Residents

by Samantha Whidden
Ohio Train Derailment
(Photo Credit: NTSB/Handout via Xinhua)

Nearly two months after the train derailment disaster in East Palestine, Ohio, Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw has issued an apology to the residents of the small town. 

According to Fox News, the Norfolk Southern CEO apologized to the residents of East Palestine, Ohio about the train derailment and vowed to make the situation right during testimony before a Pennsylvania Senate committee on Monday (March 20th). Shaw said the company will also “make good on its promise” to clean the site safely and thoroughly. He then stated Norfolk Southern already has given $7.5 million to support a community relief fund as well. 

“I want to begin today by expressing how deeply sorry I am for the impact this derailment has had on the citizens of East Palestine and the communities in western Pennsylvania,” Shaw told the Pennsylvania Senate committee. 

Shaw also said that he’s been to East Palestine as well as Pennsylvania many times over the past six weeks while Norfolk Southern continues to clean up the derailment site. “I’ve talked with community leaders, business owners, school officials, faith-based leaders, and others throughout the community. They’ve shared their stories and their concerns about the health of their families, their businesses, and the future of the community they love. I am determined to make this right.”

The train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio occurred on February 3rd when nearly 50 cars of a Norfolk Southern train derailed and spilled toxic chemicals into the air, soil, and nearby creeks. Following the disaster, officials conducted a chemical release and burned toxic vinyl chloride. Shaw pointed out that environmental tests showed that the air in East Palestine was safe to breathe after the derailment, during the controlled burn of the toxic chemicals, and after the burn was completed.

Ohio Attorney General Sues Norfolk Southern Over ‘Epic Disaster’ Train Derailment

Shaw’s apology comes one week after Ohio Attorney General, Dave Yost, announced that the state will be filing a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern over the train derailment. At the time of the announcement, Yost stated that the derailment could have been entirely avoidable. “I’m concerned that Norfolk Southern may be putting profits for their own company above the health and safety of the cities and communities that they operate in,” he stated. 

Yost’s lawsuit is to make sure that Norfolk Southern is keeping its word to the people of East Palestine and the entire state of Ohio. He then said that the incident as being an “epic disaster” and the cleanup will be extensive. 

Some of the East Palestine residents are also suing Norfolk Southern in a class action lawsuit of their own. Yost says that the Ohio lawsuit differs from the East Palestine residents’ lawsuit. He says the Ohio suit is seeking damages to the “state of Ohio, to its environment, to its economy, as well as the broader damage to the people.”