Merkley Grills Norfolk Southern CEO over Safety Concerns at Senate Hearing

On March 9, 2023 Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Chemical Safety, Waste Management, Environmental Justice, and Regulatory Oversight on the Committee on Environment and Public Works, pressed Alan Shaw, the CEO of Norfolk Southern, to commit to safety improvements before engaging in further stock buybacks to enrich executives and shareholders.

Senator Merkley directly asked if Shaw’s assertion that the railroad was “turning over a new leaf” regarding safety meant that his team of lobbyists would push for safety improvements rather than continuing to lobby against safety regulations, as they have done in the past. He also challenged Shaw to stop eliminating positions that oversee track safety conditions, and to pledge to forgo more stock buybacks that enrich executives and shareholders until safety measures have been completed to reduce the risk of derailments.

In both cases, the CEO declined to commit to prioritizing safety.

More information about the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Hearing: