Along with the perceived inaction of the Biden administration, Norfolk Southern Railway has also come under fire for its response to a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, earlier this month.
Environmental Protection Agency Chief Michael Regan did order the railway to fund a cleanup project after toxic chemicals were released into the environment, which even some critics acknowledged was a step in the right direction.
“The Norfolk Southern train derailment has upended the lives of East Palestine families, and EPA’s order will ensure the company is held accountable for jeopardizing the health and safety of this community,” Regan said. “Let me be clear: Norfolk Southern will pay for cleaning up the mess they created and for the trauma they’ve inflicted on this community.”
If the company falls short of its responsibility, the EPA can charge as much as $70,000 per day.
Of course, even that might just be a drop in the bucket compared to the government handout that Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is reportedly willing to consider giving Norfolks Southern.
Republican state Rep. James DeSana recently asserted that the Whitmer administration has carved out as much as $15 million of a massive $750 million incentive program to aid the troubled railway.
“Norfolk Southern has had two dangerous train derailments in the Midwest this month — one in Michigan and another that leaked hazardous chemicals that are still causing serious concerns for families in Ohio,” the GOP lawmaker said. “Yet Gov. Whitmer is asking us to ignore all that and hand over taxpayer dollars to help Norfolk Southern grow in Michigan.”
DeSana is not the only Michigan Republican with serious misgivings about Whitmer’s plan.
Millions in MI taxpayer dollars should not be going to Norfolk Southern while investigations into the company’s two recent derailments – one resulting in an environmental crisis – are ongoing. https://t.co/OehB9SsYdO
— Tudor Dixon (@TudorDixon) February 22, 2023
In his own statement on the matter, state Rep. Andrew Fink called for a “full investigation” into the circumstances of the derailment before considering any multimillion-dollar handout to Norfolk Southern.
“Norfolk Southern needs to be clear about what happened and why this is happening,” added state Rep. Jamie Thompson. “There needs to be accountability. The company needs to be transparent about what it’s doing to protect the public, address these issues and prevent future incidents before a single cent of our hard-earned tax dollars is handed over to help it grow its business in Michigan.”