Alan Shaw, president and CEO of Norfolk Southern, visited East Palestine, Ohio, where he met with numerous people, including local officials, according to a press release from the rail company.
“I returned to East Palestine today to meet with local leaders, first responders, and a group of Norfolk Southern employees who live in the area," he said. "I started the morning walking the derailment site to see our clean-up progress first-hand. We are working closely with Ohio environmental and health agencies on the long-term plan to protect the environment and the community. We are going to do the work thoroughly, completely, and safely."
The visit comes after the company skipped a town hall meeting held at East Palestine High School on Wednesday night, citing safety concerns after a "growing physical threat" to employees.
After not showing, Norfolk Southern wrote a letter to the city expressing its continued support throughout the situation.
“I hear you. We hear you,” Shaw wrote in reference to the community’s worries about their health. “My simple answer is that we are here and will stay here as long as it takes to ensure your safety and to help East Palestine recover and thrive."
During Saturday's visit to East Palestine, Shaw said he met with Mayor Trent Conaway, Congressman Bill Johnson, Fire Chief Keith Drabick and first responders.
“They [local leaders and officials] are frustrated by the amount of misinformation circulating about their community and are eager to show that the air and water are safe," he said. "In every conversation today, I shared how deeply sorry I am this happened to their home. We are going to do the right things to help East Palestine recover and thrive again."
Both state and federal officials said they are holding the company accountable for the derailment that forced the town to evacuate for several days after several dangerous chemicals were released into the air.
Although government air quality monitors have said the air is safe, there has been concern among the public about long-term health consequences after the derailment.
This article was written by Claire Geary for WEWS.