WASHINGTON D.C.: US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that following the East Palestine, Ohio derailment of a Norfolk Southern Corp train, a federal investigation into safety practices of all seven major freight railroads must take place.
The National Transportation Safety Board should launch an investigation of Norfolk Southern, BNSF Railway, CSX, Union Pacific, Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, and Kansas City Southern, Schumer wrote in a letter.
Over the past five years, freight rail companies have had "over 26,500 accidents and incidents and 2,768 deaths, all while cutting roughly 20 percent of their workforce," he stressed.
Schumer also accused the seven freight carriers of a "dangerous industry-wide trend that puts profits over people's safety."
"Norfolk Southern is not the only rail company that has spent years lobbying to loosen regulations, neglect safety upgrades and lay off workers," he said a Senate speech this week.
On the sidelines at an event, National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy said she had received Schumer's letter, but was unclear if the agency has the authority to conduct the proposed probe.
"We will evaluate it and see what is possible," Homendy said.
Last week, the National Transportation Safety Board said it was opening a "special investigation" and urged Norfolk Southern "to take immediate action today to review and assess its safety practices."
A Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, on 3rd February, causing the release of over 1 million gallons of harmful pollutants.
Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw apologized for the derailment and promised to improve his company's safety practices.