Norfolk Southern CEO appears before Senate, says he will "help" East Palestine

CEO Alan Shaw promised that the company would pay compensation to affected residents: "We will be there today, tomorrow, a year from now, five or ten years from now.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the railway company Norfolk Southern, Alan Shaw, appeared before the Senate on Thursday to answer questions about the train derailment in East Palestine (Ohio) last month, which caused a spill of toxic chemicals that endangered the local population.

Shaw testified along with federal and local environmental officials at the hearing before the Environment and Public Works Committee. In his first comments, he said he was sorry for the impact the derailment had on the East Palestine community and stated that he is determined to contribute whatever is needed:

I want to begin today by expressing how much I regret the impact this derailment has had on the residents of East Palestine and the surrounding communities.... I am determined to do the right thing (...) I am going to end this. There are no conditions on our attendance; if residents have any concerns, we want them to come and talk to us (...) I promise we will not finish until we get it right.

The CEO promised that the company will "clean up the site thoroughly and urgently." After being asked whether he would pay compensation to residents for possible long-term medical costs, Shaw replied, "We're going to be there today, tomorrow, a year from now, five or 10 years from now."

He also said they will focus on"making rail safer" and promised that their safety standards will be "the best in the industry."

On the other hand, he stated that studies have shown that in East Palestine "the air is safe to breathe and the water is safe to drink." This was also confirmed during the hearing by Ohio EPA Director Anne Vogel.