Norfolk Southern to Pay U.S. $310 Million for East Palestine Accident

Norfolk Southern has agreed to pay more than $310 million to settle claims and cover costs stemming from the February 2023 derailment of a freight train carrying hazardous materials in an Ohio town, the federal government said on Thursday.

The Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency said the settlement, which still needs to be approved by a federal court, requires Norfolk Southern to improve rail safety and pay for cleanup costs and health and environmental monitoring in and around East Palestine, Ohio, where the accident happened.

On a Friday night in early February last year, 38 rail cars on a Norfolk Southern train derailed, 11 of which were carrying hazard materials like vinyl chloride, a chemical used to make plastics. Days later, emergency responders, fearing an explosion, decided to release and burn vinyl chloride from derailed cars, sending vast plumes of dark smoke over the town. Hundreds of residents were evacuated and life in East Palestine was upended for months. There were no deaths.

Michael S. Regan, the administrator of the E.P.A., said in a statement that the settlement ensured that the cleanup would be paid for by the company and help prevent similar disasters.
The train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, in February of 2023. by National Transportation Safety Board is licensed under Wikimedia