$310M Settlement Reached with Norfolk Southern Over Toxic Ohio Train Derailment

The Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday announced a more than $310 million settlement with Norfolk Southern Railroad Co. over the February 2023 toxic gas train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice Announced The settlement with Norfolk Southern Railway was announced in a news release.

The EPA said the company is liable to pay compensation for damages caused by the train derailment.

The settlement, if approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, would require Norfolk Southern to improve rail safety, pay for health monitoring and mental health services for the surrounding community, fund long-term environmental monitoring, pay a $15 million civil penalty, and take other steps to protect nearby waterways and drinking water resources.

Norfolk Southern estimates it will spend more than $1 billion to address pollution and other impacts from the East Palestine derailment and to improve rail safety and operations, along with other response costs and rail safety enhancements.

In April, Norfolk Southern agreed to pay $600 million to settle a class-action lawsuit related to the East Palestine derailment, according to Breitbart News.

“Norfolk Southern says it has already spent more than $1.1 billion responding to the derailment, including more than $104 million in direct aid to eastern Palestine and its residents,” the media added.

One resident claimed he had a higher-pitched voice after the train derailment and toxic explosion, according to Breitbart News, adding that a doctor told him he had chemicals in his body.

Wade Lovett said, “My voice sounds like Mickey Mouse. My normal voice is low. I have trouble breathing, especially at night. My chest hurts so much at night I feel like I’m drowning. I cough up phlegm a lot. I lost my job because my doctor wouldn’t give me the go-ahead to go to work.”

The media said residents were outraged by an apparent lack of support from local authorities and the administration of Democratic President Joe Biden.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s visit to the region came weeks after former President Donald Trump visited and bought truckloads of water and food for first responders.

According to an EPA press release, Agency Administrator Michael S. Regan said:

“No community should ever experience the trauma inflicted on the residents of East Palestine. That’s why President Biden promised from the beginning that his Administration would stand with communities every step of the way. Today’s enforcement action fulfills that promise, ensures that cleanup costs will be paid for by the company, and helps prevent a tragedy like this from happening again.”

“This settlement will mean better access to health care for residents and emergency responders, safer trains and cleaner waterways,” Regan added.