Norfolk Southern CEO, Alan Shaw is back in the hot seat testifying before the Ohio Senate regarding the East Palestine train derailment disaster in February.

Shaw was the first witness to testify at the hearing and Senators questioned him on a variety of topics related to the derailment.

Senator Frank Hoagland asked Shaw whether or not he had been involved from the very beginning. Shaw told him that he has been involved since the very beginning and listening to the community since day one.

Shaw testified that he had taken community feedback into account stating that originally, Norfolk Southern had planned to leave the contaminated soil under the tracks, but after backlash from residents, he instructed the company to remove it entirely.

Shaw insisted to Senators that Norfolk Southern is indeed a safe railroad noting that as soon as the preliminary report from the NTSB came out, the company issued a six-point safety plan including an increase in wayside detectors.

Senator Nickie Antonio asked about a 30-40% cut on safety in the past few years in regard to rail workers, as well as assistance provided to crews who were working during the derailment.

Shaw told Senator Antonio that Norfolk Southern has been on a "hiring spree" and that Norfolk Southern has a "record number" of conductors.

When asked about new technology on the horizon to help increase rail safety, Shaw said Norfolk Southern is a "data-driven organization" and will follow science and technology when making these decisions.

Shaw addressed long-term health care and property values assuring the committee that Norfolk Southern is working with Ohio Attorney General, Dave Yost and other state experts officials to establish long-term funds to specifically address those issues.

In addition to this, Shaw highlighted some of the work Norfolk Southern had done for the East Palestine community in response to the derailment.

"I am proud to have personally donated almost $450 thousand to fund scholarships for East Palestine students. You have my personal commitment that we will get the job done and help this community thrive," Shaw said.

"Although financial assistance can't change what happened, we believe it's an important part of doing the right thing. We have committed reimbursements and investments of $30 million so far including helping over 7,600 families through our family assistance center," Shaw continued.

When asked recent transportation safety budget signed by Ohio Governor, Mike DeWine requiring that there be at least two crew members on each train, Shaw doubled down on comments made during an earlier hearing about not seeing any data linked between crew size and train derailments.

Ohio Railroad Association Executive Director Art Arnold also appeared at the hearing to testify.

Senators asked Arnold when railroad safety becomes priority over profit. Arnold responded by saying safety is the "top priority for every one of [ORA's] members" citing track improvements taking place allowing for significant improvements in state railroads.

After the hearing, 21 News reached out to Salem-based Ohio Senator, Michael Rulli about his thoughts on the hearing. Rulli tells us he still has some unanswered questions, but is still glad to see some progress being made.

A full statement from Rulli can be read below:

"There are still plenty of questions I have including many questions surrounding the failure of the bearings that have yet to be answered in detail. One of our primary goals in this committee is to ensure a similar situation never occurs again."

"One encouraging takeaway I had from today's hearing is the 1,000 tons of toxic waste leaving East Palestine every day."