AP – Ohio filed a lawsuit against railroad Norfolk Southern to make sure it pays for the cleanup and environmental damage caused by a fiery train derailment on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border last month, the state’s attorney general said on Tuesday.
The federal lawsuit also seeks to force the company to pay for groundwater and soil monitoring in the years ahead and economic losses in the village of East Palestine and surrounding areas, said Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.
“The fallout from this highly preventable accident is going to reverberate throughout Ohio for many years to come,” Yost said.
No one was hurt in the derailment in February, but half of the roughly 5,000 residents of East Palestine had to evacuate for days when responders intentionally burned toxic chemicals in some of the derailed cars to prevent an uncontrolled explosion, leaving residents with lingering health concerns.
Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw apologised before Congress last week for the impact the derailment has had on the area, but he didn’t make specific commitments to pay for long-term health and economic harm.
The railroad has promised more than USD20 million to help the Ohio community recover while also announcing several voluntary safety upgrades. The railroad is working on creating a long-term medical compensation fund, a way to protect home sellers if their property loses value because of the derailment, and improving drinking water protections, it said in a statement.