Norfolk Southern’s CEO is offering support for some parts of a bipartisan Senate bill putting tougher safety regulations on railroads.
This comes following last month’s fiery hazardous materials train derailment that has impacted residents of East Palestine, Ohio.
Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw will appear before the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday.
Shaw faced aggressive questioning from senators earlier this month in a separate hearing.
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At that time, the CEO committed to voluntary safety upgrades.
He also apologized for the derailment that upended life in East Palestine but stopped short of endorsing proposed safety regulations under the Railway Safety Act of 2023.
However, Shaw says in prepared remarks released ahead of Wednesday’s appearance that Norfolk Southern will “support legislative efforts to enhance the safety of the freight rail industry.”
But he does not address several key provisions of the Railway Safety Act, including increased fines for safety violations and designating trains that carry flammable liquids as highly hazardous.
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Shaw supports funding for emergency crew training, reviewing regulations for rail care inspections every three years and accelerating the phaseout of older tank car models.
Shaw also says there are “areas in which we believe Congress could go further with safety legislation,” including stricter standards for tank car design and research into technology that would detect problems with rail cars.
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In last month’s derailment, 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.
Railroad safety has been put under a microscope since residents have suffered from illnesses allegedly connected to the billowing smoke from the accident.
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The Senate Commerce Committee will also hear from the Chair of the National Transportation Safety Board.
The NTSB and the Federal Railroad Administration are investigating the East Palestine derailment and Norfolk Southern’s safety practices.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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