Ohio derailment: Norfolk Southern boss to testify before Congress

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Ohio derailment: Norfolk Southern boss to testify before Congress

Eleven cars of a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous materials have derailed.

Norfolk Southern Railroad Chairman and CEO Alan Shaw will testify before Congress next week, a month after one of his trains carrying toxic chemicals was derailed in the East Palestine town. , in Ohio.

He will notably be questioned next Thursday by the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works on the measures taken by the company to avoid new accidents of this kind.

On February 3, the derailment in Ohio caused a huge fire and the evacuation of hundreds of people. Among other things, the train was carrying vinyl chloride, a carcinogenic and highly flammable chemical used in the manufacture of plastic.

The railway authorities had carried out controlled releases of vinyl chloride to avoid a possible explosion, which had released toxic fumes.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the derailment, an overheating problem was the cause of the incident.

A preliminary report released Thursday by the US National Transportation Safety Board said the crew of the Norfolk Southern freight train did not receive many warnings before dozens wagons leave the tracks. Furthermore, there is no indication that the crew members made a mistake.

On February 21, the U.S. government ordered Norfolk Southern to clean up contaminated soil and water resources and reimburse the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for cleanup services that will be provided to residents and businesses. to further reassure them.

Democratic Senator from Ohio, Sherrod Brown, said Wednesday that he is seeking a commitment from Mr. Shaw to repay the expenses generated by the repercussions of the derailment over the long term.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said earlier this week that Americans want to know why Norfolk Southern has spent years lobbying to ease regulations that are supposed to prevent such accidents. .

Last Monday, President Joe Biden notably ordered federal agencies to go door-to-door in East Palestine to meet with families affected by the derailment to see what they need and put them in touch with the appropriate resources.

The derailment quickly took a political turn in the United States: Republicans are presenting the incident as a failure morale from the Biden administration, as Democrats point to rollbacks made by former President Donald Trump during his tenure that weakened rail and environmental regulations.

With the information s from Associated Press

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