Senators hold hearing on Norfolk-Southern

(CNN Newsource)
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 9:21 AM EST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2023 at 1:16 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, led by Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va), held a full committee hearing Thursday in Washington D.C. regarding the ongoing health concerns from the Feb. 3 Norfolk-Southern toxic train derailment in East Palestine.

Senate hearing on the East Palestine train derailment
Senate hearing on the East Palestine train derailment((Source: WOIO))

Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and JD Vance were witnesses in front of the committee, along with a representative from Norfolk-Southern, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Ohio EPA, the Beaver County Department of Emergency Services and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission.

“The response to this crisis has been far too partisan. Today is an opportunity to change that. Senator Vance and I are both listening to the same Ohioans in this community – people who feel like they have no way to stand up to a company like Norfolk Southern, and are worried about what will happen when the cameras pack up and leave,” said Brown at the hearing. “If Norfolk Southern had paid a little more attention to safety and a little less attention to its profits – had cared a little more about the Ohioans along its tracks, and a little less about its executives and shareholders – these accidents would not have been as bad, or might not have happened at all.”

On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that a special investigation of Norfolk Southern Railway’s organization and safety will soon be underway.

“Given the number and significance of recent Norfolk Southern accidents, the NTSB also urges the company to take immediate action today to review and assess its safety practices, with the input of employees and others, and implement necessary changes to improve safety,” NTSB said.

According to the NTSB, since Dec. 2021 they have sent investigation teams to five significant accidents involving Norfolk- Southern.

The accidents include:

  • Dec. 8, 2021 - an employee for National Salvage and Service Corporation assigned to work with a Norfolk Southern work team replacing track was killed when the operator of a spike machine reversed direction and struck the employee in Reed, Pennsylvania.
  • Dec. 13, 2022 - a Norfolk Southern trainee conductor was killed, and another conductor was injured, when the lead locomotive of a Norfolk Southern freight train struck a steel angle iron protruding from a gondola car on another Norfolk Southern freight train that was stopped on an adjacent track in Bessemer, Alabama.
  • Feb. 3, 2023 - a Norfolk Southern freight train carrying hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine. The derailment resulted in a significant fire and hazardous materials release.
  • March 4, 2023 - a 2.55-mile-long Norfolk Southern freight train derailed near Springfield.
  • March 7, 2023 - a Norfolk Southern employee was killed during a movement in Cleveland.

As a part of this special investigation, the NTSB is also reviewing the Oct. 28, 2022 Norfolk Southern derailment in Sandusky.