Ohio Suing Norfolk Southern After East Palestine Derailment

The state of Ohio is suing Norfolk Southern, the rail carrier at the center of the Feb. 3 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. The crash resulted in the derailment of 50 train cars, including those carrying dangerous chemicals.

The announcement this week came from state Attorney General Dave Yost (R-OH) during a press conference.

According to the attorney general, the accident was “highly preventable.”

Yost said that the effects of the crash would “reverberate throughout Ohio for many years to come.”

Norfolk Southern has been under considerable scrutiny following the crash, and the company’s CEO Alan Shaw testified before Congress last week. While the company offered to cover some of the expenses for the evacuated residents, there will likely be further investigations tied to the derailment.

The total promised payments from the company to the area surrounding East Palestine is about $20 million so far.

The company is mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean the site of the crash.

The lawsuit seeks recompense for the cost of the response to the crash, including for fire and emergency services personnel, though Ohio did not announce an exact amount. Yost believes that the cost will be very large, stating that “this was an epic disaster.”

The attorney general said that the cleanup would be very expensive.

Norfolk Southern’s CEO told the Senate that the company apologized for the crash.

“I’m terribly sorry for the impact this derailment has had on the folks of that community,” he said.

The railroad chief said that the company would “be there for as long as it takes to help East Palestine thrive and recover.”

The transportation giant is now under investigation by both the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Railroad Administration. In addition to the Ohio disaster, a train operated by the company derailed in Alabama Thursday.

The February crash released a number of dangerous dioxins that caused thousands of local residents to have to evacuate and resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of animals.