The president of the norfolk southern railway companyAlan Shaw, apologized this Thursday for the derailment of a train with toxic products in East Palestine (Ohio, USA) and promised to «finish the job» in the area affected by the spill.
Shaw testified before the Committee on the Environment and Public Works of the United States Senate to explain the accident that forced the eviction of the inhabitants of the area.
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After apologizing for the impact on residents, Shaw wanted to show his «personal commitment» to «doing things right»: «Norfolk Southern will finish the job,» he promised. The manager assured that the company will be present «as long as it takes to help Eastern Palestine prosper and recover.»
«We are going to be there today, tomorrow, in a year, five or ten years,» Shaw reiterated, after being asked if he would pay compensation to the inhabitants for possible long-term medical costs.
Northfolk Southern’s chairman also pledged to «make the railway safer» and vowed to make its safety standards «the best in the business».
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On the other hand, he asserted that studies have shown that «the air is safe to breathe and the water is safe to drink,» as was also established during the hearing by the director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Anne Vogel.
He operating train by Norfolk, of about 50 wagons, transported toxic material in 11 of them and derailed on February 3 as it passed through East Palestinea town of fewer than 5,000 people 60 kilometers from the industrial city of Pittsburgh and close to the Ohio-Pennsylvania border.
On the other hand, some senators such as Democrats Sherrod Brown and Bob Casey stressed the need to approve the Railroad Safety Act. «It shouldn’t take a train wreck for elected officials to put partisanship aside and work together for the people we serve,» Brown claimed.
Although East Palestine is small and located in a fairly unpopulated area, the issue is being used by Republicans to criticize the federal government for the consequences of what happened, despite the fact that the Administration of President Joe Biden insists that there is no danger in area.
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Given the criticisms, The US government announced that it would deploy a team of doctors and toxicologists to carry out public health tests in the affected area..
Since the fires were extinguished on February 8, air and water monitoring have not detected any level of community health concern attributed to the train derailment.