$310 Million Settlement Reached Over East Palestine Train Derailment

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a $310 million settlement with Norfolk Southern Railway Company.

The settlement surrounds the February 2023 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

“If the settlement is approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Norfolk Southern will be required to take measures to improve rail safety, pay for health monitoring and mental health services for the surrounding communities, fund long-term environmental monitoring, pay a $15 million civil penalty, and take other actions to protect nearby waterways and drinking water resources,” a press release reads.

Norfolk Southern expects that it will spend more than $1 billion to address the damages caused by the train derailment.

“To help ensure that no community goes through what East Palestine residents have faced, the settlement also requires Norfolk Southern to improve coordination with government officials and other stakeholders during emergency responses,” the release adds. “Specifically, Norfolk Southern will create and adopt a procedure for coordinating with first responders and government officials, where appropriate, before restoring and reopening tracks for use after a derailment involving spilled hazardous material.”

The railway company will also “create and adopt a procedure for coordinating with government officials and other stakeholders in advance of any vent and burn proposed by the company.”

Per the settlement, Norfolk Southern has agreed to further cleanup efforts, pay $25 million for a community health program, monitor groundwater and surface water for ten years, monitor private drinking water for 10 years, implement a “waterways remediation plan,” and pay $175,000 for national resource damages.

President Joe Biden visited East Palestine, Ohio, one year after the derailment.

His visit was marked by criticism and protests.

East Palestine residents greeted Biden by chanting, “Let’s Go Brandon!” and carrying pro-Trump signs.

One resident said he received phone calls from people asking if he could “block the entrance of the town so that he can’t come.”