Ohio sues Norfolk Southern over toxic train derailment

Ohio sues Norfolk Southern over toxic train derailment

Ohio sues Norfolk Southern over toxic train derailment

The state of Ohio on March 14 sued Norfolk Southern to ensure the railway pays for all cleanup expenses and damage related to toxic chemicals that spilled in a derailment last month.

“Ohio shouldn’t have to bear the tremendous financial burden of Norfolk Southern’s glaring negligence,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said after filing the lawsuit.

The state is seeking civil penalties and other economic losses from the Feb. 3 derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

The cargo train spilled more than one million gallons of hazardous chemicals, Yost said, “recklessly endangering” residents and violating 58 federal and state laws.

“The citizens of the region have been displaced, their lives interrupted and their businesses shuttered,” the complaint says.

A total of 39 cars derailed, spilling hazardous chemicals into at least six creeks and rivers and other “still-unknown Ohio waterways,” it said.

“The derailment was entirely avoidable and the direct result of Norfolk Southern’s practice of putting its own profits above the health, safety and welfare of the communities” where the railway operates, the complaint says.

For its part, the Atlanta-based railway said it is “making progress every day cleaning the site safely and thoroughly [and] providing financial assistance to residents and businesses that have been affected.”

The freight railway said it is aware that residents fear the impacts of chemical spillage might not be discovered for years and that their home values may not recover.

“We understand these concerns,” the railway said. “We are committed to working with the community to provide tailored protection for home sellers if their property loses value due to the impact of the derailment.”

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