Norfolk Southern to Pay $310 Million for Last Year’s Tragic Train Crash in Ohio

By Trisha Andrada

May 24, 2024 03:36 AM EDT

Smoke rises from a derailed cargo train in East Palestine, Ohio, on February 4, 2023.
(Photo : DUSTIN FRANZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Norfolk Southern, a freight railroad firm in the United States, has settled claims and covered expenses totaling over $310 million related to the 2023 train derailment carrying toxic materials in East Palestine, Ohio.

Federal officials announced this settlement on Thursday, May 23.

Derailment Aftermath

In February 2023, 38 train carriages were entangled in the collision, with 11 of them carrying potentially dangerous substances. A fire broke out in the aftermath.

Many locals in East Palestine subsequently complained of being sick, both physically and emotionally, as a result of the occurrence. Residents had to evacuate their homes because of the toxic gases, which also killed thousands of animals. Within a 5-mile radius, environmental experts calculated that over 45,000 creatures, mostly aquatic species, were killed.

Norfolk Southern will also spend an additional $235 million to clean up the affected town's polluted air, water, and land.

In April, the company and the town's citizens settled their separate class-action lawsuit for $600 million.

READ NEXT: Petrochemical Company in Texas Fined $30 Million for Violating the Clean Air Act Over 2019 Explosion That Prompted Mass Evacuation

Clean Water Act Violations

Less than two months after last year's disaster, the US Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern. According to BBC, legal action was taken to address violations of the US Clean Water Act, including the discharge of oil and dangerous chemicals, and to seek fines and injunctive remedies.

As part of this multi-million dollar settlement, Norfolk Southern must pay for long-term environmental monitoring, provide mental health assistance to communities, and enhance train safety. A $15 million civil fine has been levied against the corporation for suspected Clean Water Act breaches.

The deal still needs to be approved by a federal court. On September 25, a hearing will be held to determine the final approval.

READ MORE: Democrats Urge DOJ to Probe Big Oil's Misinformation Campaign on Climate Change

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