Just hours before the CEO of Norfolk Southern testified this week before Congress about his railway’s apparent difficulty staying on the tracks, another one of its trains derailed in Alabama.
According to the Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency, over 30 cars headed west from Atlanta derailed at approximately 6:45 a.m. on March 9 in Iron City near the White Plains area.
Calhoun County EMA director Myles Chamblee said, “There was no injuries, no fire, and no road blockages” involved.
“Fortunately, there were no hazardous materials with this, and we were able to work with Norfolk Southern, the county sheriff’s office, the Quad Cites fire department, the Oxford fire department, and were able to respond effectively,” said Chamblee.
Fire departments left the scene at 2:30 p.m., leaving Norfolk Southern personnel to continue with cleanup efforts.
Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Falon Hurst noted that railway traffic will be disrupted for some time, reported the Anniston Star.
“It’s torn the tracks all up,” said Hurst.
While rail traffic may be backed up, White Plains reportedly is not facing an ecological disaster like East Palestine, Ohio, where a Norfolk Southern train carrying 141 loaded cars derailed, ultimately releasing — with the explosive assistance of the railway — toxic chemicals into the air and surrounding streams.
Norfolk Southern spokesman Connor Spielmaker told reporters that none of the 37 cars allegedly contained hazardous materials; however, two are designated “residue hazardous material cars” because they recently carried hazardous materials.
“They did not breach,” said Spielmaker. “There is no hazardous material leak. There is no risk at all to the public.”
After this latest derailment, Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw testified to Congress, where his railway has spent a great deal of money in recent years.
TheBlaze previously reported that Norfolk Southern has greased politicians’ hands to the tune of nearly $100 million since 1990.
According to Open Secrets, Norfolk Southern spent $1.8 million lobbying last year and $1.6 million the year before. Since 1998, it has spent over $79 million on lobbying efforts and $16,948,996 on political contributions.
That money has made its way to both sides of the aisle.
The company favored Democratic congressional candidates 55.27% to 44.72%, but doled out hundreds of thousands of dollars to persons of all political persuasions who may one day be called to hold it accountable.
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said, “The company followed the Wall Street business model: Boost profits by cutting costs at all costs. The consequences for places like East Palestine be damned.”
Brown pointed out that the railway had cut its workforce back by 38% over the past 10 years while spending $3.4 billion on stock buybacks, reported the New York Post.
“That’s money that could have gone to hiring inspectors, to putting more hotbox detectors along its rail lines, to having more workers available to repair cars and repair tracks,” added Brown.
Republican Sen. J.D. Vance (Ohio) lambasted the railway, stating, “This is an industry that enjoys special subsidies that almost no industry enjoys. This is an industry that enjoys special legal carve-outs that almost no industry enjoys.”
“Now they’re claiming before the Senate and the House that our reasonable regulation is somehow a violation of the free market. Well, pot, meet the kettle, because that doesn’t make an ounce of sense. You cannot claim special government privileges, you cannot ask the government to bail you out, and then resist basic public safety,” added Vance.
Shaw claimed he was “deeply sorry … for the impact this derailment had on the residents of East Palestine and the surrounding communities.”
“I am determined to make this right. Norfolk Southern will clean the site safely, thoroughly and with urgency. You have my personal commitment. Norfolk Southern will get the job done and help East Palestine thrive,” said Shaw.”
Shaw noted that Norfolk Southern had pledged $21 million in assistance to East Palestine alone, where 1.1 million gallons of water and 15,000 pounds of soil were contaminated and a trench warfare gas once used as a weapon of mass slaughter was released overhead.
TheBlaze previously reported that Norfolk Southern Railroad just celebrated “double-digit percentage growth in revenue and … record revenue and operating income,” noting in its end-of-year financial report that it had raked in $12.7 billion in 2022, up 14% over the previous year. The railway managed this despite reportedly accounting for over half the hazmat damages involving rail transportation in the U.S. last year.
The New York Times reported that the rate of accidents on the company’s railway has increased in each of the last four years.
Norfolk Southern recently saw major derailments on March 4 in Springfield, Ohio, and Feb. 16 in Van Buren Township outside Detroit, Michigan.
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