This week, both Ohio’s U.S. senators have been critical of the railroad over plans to help local property owners whose land is losing value because of February’s train derailment and the clean-up that’s still taking place.
Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, believes more needs to be done right now. A congressional field hearing will be held on Friday.
Among those testifying will be community and business leaders, representatives with the Ohio EPA, and Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw. The hearing is Friday at 10 a.m. at the American Legion Hall and it is open to the public.
Brown has written a letter to Norfolk Southern, listing six items he wants addressed. He wants the railroad to fix the damage, keep the promises it has made to village residents and improve safety.
Brown feels taking those steps will make a difference.
“One is to make people whole that have lost a lot, whether it’s potentially their healthcare, whether it’s the diminishing value of their homes, whether it’s making sure these people are made whole. The other is Norfolk Southern should stop fighting our bipartisan effort on train safety,” Brown said.
Norfolk CEO Alan Shaw defended his company’s response to help protect property owners in East Palestine. He said Thursday that property values have been addressed with a fund to make homeowners whole.
“One of the things that I heard on many trips back here was a concern about property valuation. So, I said we’re gonna do something about that and just this week, we kept that promise. We set up a fund, kind of an assurance for the local community, that property values will be protected,” Shaw said.
Brown also believes the railroad should stop fighting a desire to have just a 1-person crew on trains.