Federal board opens investigation into Norfolk Southern amid East Palestine derailment

Norfolk Southern President and CEO Alan Shaw indicated that the company would "cooperate fully" with the investigation.

Published: March 7, 2023 5:29pm

Updated: March 7, 2023 6:10pm

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has opened an investigation into Norfolk Southern's safety practices following a major train derailment in Ohio in early February that brought national attention to the issue.

"The NTSB will conduct an in-depth investigation into the safety practices and culture of the company," the board stated in a press release. "At the same time, the company should not wait to improve safety and the NTSB urges it to do so immediately."

"The continued safe operations of Norfolk Southern is vital to the United States. The NTSB is concerned that several organizational factors may be involved in the accidents, including safety culture," it also stated.

In early February, a Norfolk Southern train derailed near East Palestine, Ohio, prompting the evacuation of the town after toxic materials leaked from the railcars. Authorities were forced to implement a controlled release and burn of the materials to prevent an explosion.

Norfolk Southern President and CEO Alan Shaw indicated that the company would "cooperate fully" with the investigation, according to The Hill. "I called together every member of our management team this afternoon to emphasize the urgency of finding new solutions."

"Tomorrow we will hold safety stand-down briefings reaching every employee across our network. Moving forward, we are going to rebuild our safety culture from the ground up," he said. "We are going to invest more in safety. This is not who we are, it is not acceptable, and it will not continue."

Ohio Sens. J.D. Vance, R, and Sherrod Brown, D, have introduced legislation to tighten rail safety standards in the aftermath of the derailment, though the proposal has thus far struggled to gain traction on the Republican side of the aisle.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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