It's been more than two weeks since the train derailment in East Palestine and 12 days since the controlled burn that released toxic chemicals including vinyl chloride into the atmosphere--it's a decision Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw stands behind.

"I think we did what we needed to do in order to prevent an uncontrolled explosion in the evening.", Shaw said, adding that company consultants, the Department of Defense, the National Guard as well as state and local officials all signed off on the move. He also says the decision was not motivated by cost.

Shaw says the company has hired consultants to do air and water quality tests in conjunction with the EPA.
According to him - all air and municipal water tests have come back clean but that those with private wells should keep drinking bottled water.  He says those numbers will be made available through the EPA.

"Private well testing we need to continue to monitor and test the wells and wait for those results to come back.", the company's CEO added.

Trains were running through East Palestine just a week after the derailment occurred--21's Corey McCrae asked Alan Shaw if they tested the soil before putting a new rail line down--he would not give a direct answer.

Shaw: "We worked with the Ohio EPA to make sure that it was safe to operate on the soil in that area."

Corey: "So none of the soil underneath the rail line is contaminated?"

Shaw: "I didn't say that, what I'm saying is we worked with the Ohio EPA on safe operations and safety for the community."

Shaw still wouldn't say whether the soil under the replaced rail line is still bad.  He only promised to do "whatever is required" and punted back to the Ohio EPA.  Shaw added that the contaminated water is being taken out of state - and the contaminated soil, which has not been hauled away yet, will be taken to the appropriate landfill.

Residents addressed concerns over indemnification letters about inconvenience money, and whether their rights to sue for any further damages would be affected.  Shaw says the language in that contract was in error, and that there no strings attached.

"The indemnification language which was on one of our contractor's forms was in error--as soon as we found out about it, we went to the contractor and told them to remove it.", Shaw explained 

When asked if the railroad company will invest in new technology to help prevent future derailments, he says although the NTSB has been in control of the investigation into the derailment that they will look into making the railways safer. 

"We will continue to invest to make sure that Norfolk Southern is a safer railroad.", Shaw explained.

Shaw expressed sympathy for the events that have occurred and says they are committed to being there until they are no longer needed.

"I've made it clear--I am terribly sorry for what has happened to this community--we're going to be here today, we're going to be here tomorrow, we're going to be here a year from now, and we're going to be here five years from now." Shaw said.

Shaw tells 21 News he spent two days in East Palestine in the immediate aftermath, visiting the red cross center and the family assistance center that Norfolk Southern set up. 

"I introduced myself to folks, I told them who I was, and who I represented, and I made sure that the community of East Palestine was getting everything they needed from Norfolk Southern.". Shaw added.

Shaw says anybody who wants or needs an air or water quality test--they're going to get it, and if there are any residents who want bottled water they're going to get it.", Shaw concluded.