Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw announced Thursday he will fund scholarships for East Palestine, Ohio, students to attend post-secondary education, a Norfolk Southern spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The scholarship will cover four years at a college or university or a two year vocational school, the spokesperson said. Shaw will use his pre-scheduled stock sale worth $445,000 to pay for the scholarships, 21 WFMJ reported. (RELATED: Rail Union Reports Sickness, Safety Concerns At Ohio Train Derailment Site)
A Norfolk Southern train derailed on Feb. 3 and carried toxic chemicals including vinyl chloride, which is known to cause health concerns. Officials authorized a controlled burn that leaked the toxins into the air and water to avoid a potential explosion after nearly 2,000 residents were temporarily evacuated.
Norfolk Southern previously pledged to reimburse East Palestine City School District $300,000 “to support the district’s academics, athletics, extra-curricular activities, and its long-term contingency planning regarding the impacts of the derailment,” according to a Feb. 24 press release. The district’s high school, middle school and elementary school each received $100,000 from the company.
The announcement came after Shaw visited East Palestine in February and learned that the district was losing money since athletic teams voluntarily forfeited games to avoid traveling to the village after the toxic train derailment on Feb. 3, according to the press release. The district has reportedly been deemed safe by local, state and federal officials to host athletic competitions.
“As soon as I heard that the East Palestine Bulldogs were not able to play in revenue-generating games, we took immediate action to help this community,” Shaw said in the press release. “We continue to be committed to helping East Palestine residents get back on their feet. We are in this community for the long haul, and our goal is to see the community thrive again.”
Environmental experts have created a protected holding area for soil we’ll remove during our upcoming track remediation. Read our latest updates here: https://t.co/I60ROdJuAZ pic.twitter.com/ipcujUO6Gb
— Norfolk Southern (@nscorp) March 1, 2023
The residents were adamant to hold Norfolk Southern’s feet to the fire during a Feb. 23 town hall meeting. River Valley Organizing, which organized the meeting, released a list of demands for the company on Tuesday that included resident relocation, independent environmental testing, medical testing and monitoring, safe disposal of the toxic waste and for Norfolk Southern to front the bill for costs associated with cleanup.
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