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Lawmakers demand Norfolk Southern reimburse Ohio city for 2022 spill

Norfolk Southern

Federal lawmakers from Ohio on Wednesday sent a letter to Norfolk Southern Corp. CEO Alan Shaw demanding that the railroad company immediately pay the city of Sandusky, Ohio, for costs to repair damages caused by a freight train derailment last year that spilled paraffin wax.

In the letter, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio; and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, call on Norfolk Southern to “fully reimburse the city for damages due to the derailment.”

The Oct. 8, 2022, derailment spilled a significant amount of paraffin wax, causing significant damage to the city’s sewer system, a roadway, and electrical systems for lights and traffic control, the letter said.

Norfolk Southern contractors caused further damage to the area during the cleanup, the letter said.

While Norfolk Southern had agreed to reimburse the city for damage that occurred during the derailment and for construction repairs, the railroad has yet to “provide the compensation due to the city and its construction contractor,” according to the letter.

The derailment in Sandusky was the third of seven known Ohio derailments of Norfolk Southern trains in the past year, including the Feb. 3 derailment and chemical spill in East Palestine.

“Ohioans are rightfully concerned about the safety of railroads traveling through their communities. The Norfolk Southern derailments in Ohio have highlighted many known deficiencies in safety practices in the freight rail industry,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.

"We’ve been in constant communication with city officials and have committed to reimbursing for costs incurred as a result of the derailment, in addition to performing whatever work we have been able to through our own contractors," a spokesman for Norfolk Southern said in an email.

"We’ll continue to work closely with them until the job is done," he said.