Ohio Files Lawsuit Against Norfolk Southern Over Train Derailment

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) has announced that the state filed a complaint against Norfolk Southern Railway, the company responsible for the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio last month.

The 58-count complaint filed in federal court on Tuesday accuses the railway operator of violating numerous federal, state and local environmental laws. The state is also accusing the company of violating Ohio Common Law by “recklessly endangering” the state’s natural resources and the health of Ohio residents.

In the complaint, the Ohio attorney general is demanding that Norfolk Southern Railway pay for future groundwater and soil monitoring, as well as compensate for economic losses in East Palestine and the surrounding areas.

“This derailment was entirely avoidable and I’m concerned that Norfolk Southern may be putting profits for their own company above the health and safety of the cities and communities that they operate in,” said Yost.

The complaint stems from a February 3rd incident in which a more than 50-car freight train operated by the company derailed in East Palestine — polluting the air, ground and nearby waterways with dangerous, toxic chemicals.

One America News (OAN) reported that “a big ball of fire and a cloud of poisonous black smoke rose into the air as a result of officials purposefully releasing and burning deadly vinyl chloride from five rail cars amid fears that an explosion would occur.”

Ohio is also accusing Norfolk Southern of causing prohibited discharge into state waters, failing to have a contingency plan in place and illegal dumping of hazardous waste.

According to Yost, the lawsuit is designed to rectify any economic consequences or long-term health effects faced by East Palestine residents in the wake of the derailment. The attorney general also noted that he had met with representatives from Norfolk Southern on Monday to discuss potential compensation, which would include a fund to cover any “delayed” health effects caused by the incident, as well as a fund to cover long-term damages to the price of real estate in the area.

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

Norfolk Southern has issued a statement in response to news of the lawsuit.

In the statement, the company claimed that it was “closely listening to community concerns about whether there could be long-term repercussions from the incident.”

“We look forward to working toward a final resolution with Attorney General Yost and others as we coordinate with his office, community leaders, and other stakeholders to finalize the details of these programs,” the statement continued.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered Norfolk Southern to fund the cleanup of the train derailment and the resulting toxic chemical release.

Meanwhile, Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw appeared before Congress last week to discuss the matter. During his testimony, Shaw apologized for the impact of the incident, but did not make any specific statement about compensating for the suffering of the area’s residents.

“We are firmly committed to the residents of East Palestine and the surrounding communities in Ohio and Pennsylvania,” Shaw claimed. “Many of the people I’ve met are angry, scared and concerned about the future. I understand their skepticism that a big corporation such as Norfolk Southern will do the right thing, and we are determined to earn their trust.”