Debra Shore, US Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator, and Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw were questioned by the Senate about the train derailments in the past 10 days.

Thirty-eight cars of a Norfolk Southern freight train carrying hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine, Ohio on February 3. The company faced severe criticism on social media as approximately 30 cars derailed off its tracks on Thursday morning in Alabama. Fire officials said that there is no danger to the public, and no hazardous materials that have been released. This was  the company’s third such incident since early February.

Shore told the Senate that initial soil testing for concentrations of the persistent and hazardous class of pollutants known as dioxins found “very low levels” of the toxins.

“We follow the science, and I drank the water there, I drink it every time I go to town because the scientific data shows that it’s safe, as does the air,” she added.

“The way local state federal agencies have worked collaboratively together – it hasn’t been about politics but about people.”

Who is Debra Shore?

Debra Shore is the regional administrator for US EPA Region 5. She is an award-winning author and founded the Chicago Wilderness magazine.

Shore has been an active habitat restoration volunteer in oak woods and savannas, prairies and wetlands of local forest preserves for more than 25 years, as per the EPA website.

Debra Shore was born in Chicago. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Goucher College in Baltimore with a degree in philosophy and visual arts. The EPA administrator then earned her master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University and Columbia College in Chicago. She is married to Kathleen Gillespie. The two live in Evanston. They have one son named Ben, who is an architect.

“Her responsibilities include overseeing environmental protection efforts in the Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, as well as 35 federally recognized tribal nations. One of her roles is manager of EPA’s Great Lakes National Program, in which she leads restoration and protection of the largest freshwater system in the world,” the EPA states.