Norfolk Southern CEO says Ohio town safe after chemical train derailment

“If folks are experiencing symptoms with which they’re not accustomed, I would strongly encourage them to go see a trusted medical professional,” – Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw

Norfolk Southern – CEO Alan Shaw told CNBC he thinks it’s safe for families to return to East Palestine, Ohio, nearly three weeks after toxic chemicals were released following a train derailment earlier this month.

Asked by CNBC’s Morgan Brennan whether he’d bring his children to the town, Shaw said: “Yes, yes, I’ve come back multiple times. I’m drinking the water here. I’ve interacted with the families here.”

The company will also continue to help residents of the town, as well, Shaw said.

On Feb. 3, a Norfolk Southern freight train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed, igniting a dayslong fire.

The environmental magnitude of the derailment could remain unknown for years and more testing may be required. Officials have said air levels are safe and the town’s water is free of harmful levels of contaminants, although residents have expressed skepticism about those assurances.

Worried residents also reported dead fish and chickens as authorities said it’s safe to return.

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“Our focus right now is on environmental remediation, cleaning up this site, continual air monitoring, water monitoring, financial assistance to the residents of this community, and investing in this community so that the community in East Palestine can thrive,” Shaw said in an interview that aired Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday, the federal Environmental Protection Agency ordered the company to handle and pay for all cleanup efforts. It will require Norfolk Southern to clean any contaminated soil and water resources, reimburse the EPA for cleaning services and participate in public meetings at the EPA’s request.

A company spokesperson told CNBC Norfolk Southern has been in communication with the agency and in compliance with its requests since the incident.

Three days after the derailment, the company’s independent consultant and the Ohio EPA recommended unified command for a controlled release to burn off toxic chemicals, including known carcinogens … READ MORE.

Ohio opened a new health clinic Tuesday to address increasing reports of headaches, nausea and rashes in East Palestine.

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