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Norfolk Southern CEO to Testify Before US Senate Panel on Derailment

FILE - This photo taken with a drone shows flames and smoke surrounding portions of a Norfolk Southern freight train that derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, on Feb. 4, 2023.

Norfolk Southern Chief Executive Alan Shaw has agreed to testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee next week on a February 3 Ohio train derailment, a person briefed on the matter said.

The derailment of a Norfolk Southern-operated train in Ohio caused a fire and sent a cloud of smoke over the town, forcing thousands of residents to evacuate while railroad crews drained and burned off chemicals. It has prompted calls in Congress to pass new railroad safety legislation.

The hearing is expected to take place March 9. Norfolk Southern did not immediately comment.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has pressed railroads to take voluntary steps to improve rail safety as he pursues new regulations.

On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators led by Ohio's Sherrod Brown and JD Vance are introducing legislation to prevent future train disasters. The bill would require enhanced safety procedures for "trains carrying hazardous materials, establishing requirements for wayside defect detectors, creating a permanent requirement for railroads to operate with at least two-person crews, increasing fines for wrongdoing committed by rail carriers."