Scripps News heard Tuesday from Alan Howard Shaw, CEO and president of Norfolk Southern, about efforts to improve railway safety and assist the East Palestine community following the derailment there earlier this year.
Shaw and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp reviewed Norfolk Southern's training to increase coordination between railroads and first responders in the event of an emergency.
Shaw said the training helps emergency workers understand the realities of a derailment in a more controlled scenario, so that they're better able to respond to the real thing.
Scripps News asked about the ongoing recovery efforts in East Palestine, Ohio, where a train derailment in February spilled toxic chemicals into the community.
Shaw said Norfolk Southern employees are still in the community working on environmental remediation, as well as assistance for families and businesses.
Shaw said the company has committed $35 million in recovery funds, and committed to working with Ohio and Pennsylvania attorneys general to set up funds to support long-term heath care and property valuation recovery efforts in the community.
"It's important to us that we act in the long-term best interests of the communities we serve," Shaw said.
Norfolk Southern faces several lawsuits over the derailment: From the state of Ohio, to make sure cleanup and remediation costs are paid; and from the Environmental Protection Agency, which is seeking fines under the Clean Water Act to cover pollution costs in the community.
Norfolk Southern overhauled a controversial executive payment structure after a series of Scripps News investigations found that the company tied payouts to the practice of running longer, heavier trains.
The company told Scripps News at the time that "the compensation of our entire management team will now be based in part on performance on related safety metrics."
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