We share the concerns of many Alexandrians about the risks posed by the Norfolk Southern ethanol transloading facility.
We are also extremely disappointed in the inadequate communication provided to the community leading up to and after the opening of the operation.
The residents of Alexandria deserve better.
We have conducted a thorough review of the actions pertaining to the opening of the transloading facility. We have concluded there was a serious breakdown in internal and external communications by City staff.
City Manager Jim Hartmann and City Attorney Ignacio Pessoa have acknowledged and apologized for mistakes made during this process. The City Council is taking swift action to address this situation. We have instructed the City Manager to address deficiencies in his organization to ensure that these failures are never repeated.
We have directed that materials related to this matter be made available to the public.
We also recognize that Norfolk Southern acted irresponsibly in locating this facility in a residential neighborhood near a school, opening the facility without appropriate notification to the City or the community, and operating the facility when the City was unable to adequately respond had there been a serious emergency at the site.
The City is moving forward on two simultaneous fronts—doing everything we can to shut down this facility and to protect the health and safety of our residents from any dangers posed by this facility.