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Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway

Ohio AG sues Norfolk Southern over train derailment

NS' Feb. 3 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, caused the release of more than 1 million gallons of hazardous chemicals into the environment, Ohio Attorney General David Yost said.
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Norfolk Southern Railway is working toward establishing long-term funds to benefit East Palestine, Ohio, the company said yesterday in response to Ohio Attorney General David Yost's decision to sue the railroad over its Feb. 3 train derailment.

Yost yesterday filed a 58-count civil lawsuit in federal court seeking to hold NS responsible for the derailment, which caused the release of more than 1 million gallons of hazardous chemicals, “recklessly endangering” the health of area residents and Ohio’s natural resources, according to a press release issued by Yost's office.

"Ohio shouldn’t have to bear the tremendous financial burden of Norfolk Southern’s glaring negligence," Yost said in the release. "The fallout from this highly preventable incident may continue for years to come, and there’s still so much we don’t know about the long-term effects on our air, water and soil."

The lawsuit will make sure NS will "keep its word" in helping East Palestine and area residents recover from the derailment, Yost said.

Filed in U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Ohio, the suit cites NS' escalating accident rate, "which has risen 80% in the past 10 years," Yost said, and added that at least 20 NS derailments since 2015 have involved chemical discharges.

The lawsuit claims NS violated 58 federal and state environmental laws and Ohio Common Law.

In response to Yost's announcement, NS officials' statement noted its daily progress in cleaning the derailment site, providing financial assistance to residents and businesses affected and "investing to help East Palestine and the communities around it thrive."

This week, NS officials met with Yost to discuss three additional programs the company plans to develop in conjunction with the AG's office and other community leaders and stakeholders: the creation of a long-term medical compensation fund; providing tailored protection for home sellers if their property loses value due to the derailment; and a plan to protect drinking water over the long term.

"We look forward to working toward a final resolution with Attorney General Yost and others as we coordinate with his office, community leaders and other stakeholders to finalize the details of these programs," NS officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/15/2023