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The ESG of a Train’s Toxic Plume

14 mins listen February 17, 2023

The derailment of a train carrying possibly hazardous materials near East Palestine, Ohio on February 3 has prompted environmental concerns and chemical fears for residents. They have returned home but even as state officials work to reassure them, many remained concerned. The curious thing about all this is Norfolk Southern, the company that operated the train, did not have to label the rail cars carrying the chemicals as hazardous – which would have prompted more safety regulations to be in place. We discuss why the company didn’t have to do this (hint: regulatory thresholds) and what this derailment means for an industry already struggling with labor relations issues.

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Bentley Kaplan

Vice President, MSCI Research

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