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Ohio sues Norfolk Southern over train derailment

Posted On: Mar. 15, 2023 10:17 AM CST

Norfolk Southern

(Reuters)  The state of Ohio sued Norfolk Southern Tuesday over the Feb. 3 derailment of a freight train that released over a million gallons of hazardous materials and pollutants into the environment around the town of East Palestine.

"This derailment was entirely avoidable," Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said at a press conference, adding he was seeking compensation for damages to the state's environment, economy and residents.

Ohio's suit, filed in U.S. District Court, said the derailment resulted in the release of over one million gallons of hazardous materials and other harmful pollutants into Ohio’s air, streams, rivers, soil, and groundwater “killing tens of thousands of fish and other animals, and recklessly endangering the health of Ohioans throughout the region.”

The derailment is expected to trigger extensive insurance claims.

The state is seeking prior and future costs tied to the derailment, alleging the railroad violated state laws regulating control of hazardous waste, solid waste, and air and water pollution.

Norfolk Southern "has an extensive and tragic history of derailments and releases of hazardous materials. ... Norfolk Southern's own record demonstrates that it knew – and should have taken appropriate steps to prevent – the significant

harm that the derailment would cause," the lawsuit said.

On Monday, Mr. Yost met with Norfolk Southern and discussed several issues, including the creation of a “fund to compensate for long-term losses to real estate values.”

“This lawsuit is designed to make sure that Norfolk Southern keeps their word to the people of East Palestine,” Mr. Yost said.

Norfolk Southern said in a statement it was working toward creating three long-term funds to benefit East Palestine, including one providing "tailored protection for home sellers if their property loses value" because of the derailment.