As promised, Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw is on the schedule to appear before the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee on Monday, March 20, beginning at 10 a.m.
Shaw will appear before the committee to testify about the Norfolk Southern train wreck along the western border of Pennsylvania in East Palestine, Ohio, on Feb. 3, and the decision to intentionally ignite five railroad cars full of dangerous chemicals on Feb. 5.
The news comes on the heels of a Friday story in The Guardian, revealing the newly released data shows soil in East Palestine contains dioxin levels hundreds of times greater than the exposure threshold above which Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientists in 2010 found poses cancer risks.
Though the dioxin levels in East Palestine are below the federal action threshold and an EPA administrator last week told Congress the levels were “very low”, chemical experts, including former EPA officials, who reviewed the data for the Guardian called them “concerning.”
“The levels are not screaming high, but we have confirmed that dioxins are in East Palestine’s soil,” said Linda Birnbaum, a former head of the U.S. National Toxicology Program and EPA scientist. “The EPA must test the soil in the area more broadly.”
Shaw told the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works during a hearing last week that “Norfolk Southern specialists remain on-scene, assisted by multiple derailment and environmental contractors. These teams have contained, diverted, and treated affected portions of nearby waterways, have flushed nearly a mile of surface waterways, and are capturing rainwater within the contaminated areas for temporary storage and disposal. To date, we have recovered and transported more than 3.5 million gallons of potentially affected water from the site for disposal at EPA-approved facilities.
“We also are working to safely remove affected soil, and our crews have removed more than 2,300 tons from the site. We have removed waste to landfills specifically engineered and permitted to safely handle this type of material. Our work will continue until the job is done.”
Shaw’s appearance follows two previous committee meetings where the Pennsylvania Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee members approved subpoenas to compel the Norfolk Southern CEO to testify and provide documents to the committee.
Monday’s hearing will also feature testimony from Bob Comer, a forensic railroad accident investigator, who has investigated over 800 rail accidents nationwide throughout his career.
The hearing will be aired live at veterans.pasenategop.com