Norfolk Southern CEO Testifies on Derailment

    Photo: cnbc

    The Facts

    • On Wednesday, Alan Shaw, CEO of Norfolk Southern Railway – the company whose train carrying several cars of hazardous chemicals derailed on Feb. 3 in East Palestine, Ohio – testified in front of the US Senate Commerce Committee that he supports some aspects of a bipartisan railroad safety bill but can’t endorse its entirety.

    • Shaw said there are “many provisions” of the bill — co-sponsored by Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown (D) and JD Vance (R) — Norfolk Southern can endorse, but he didn't specify which.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Shaw’s prepared testimony that was released before his appearance at the hearing mentioned the word “safety” more than two dozen times, yet he’s clearly not dedicated to safety because he refuses to endorse the entire Senate railroad safety bill. It’s absurd that the industry is lobbying against this crucial bill and wants people who live near rail tracks to rely solely on railroad companies voluntarily adhering to strict safety standards.

    Narrative B

    There’s no way to prevent every accident, but it’s in the railway companies’ best interest to take every measure necessary to reduce risks and keep their trains as safe as possible. In fact, the companies have always voluntarily exceeded established safety standards. The free market works better than a bill that needlessly expands the federal government’s power and enriches the unions.

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