© 2024 WYSO
Our Community. Our Nation. Our World.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

U.S. reaches $310 million settlement with Norfolk Southern over East Palestine train derailment

NTSB uncrewed aerial vehicle footage of the burning railcars in East Palestine, Ohio. The drone is the safest means to assess the situation.
NTSB drone footage of the burning railcars in East Palestine, Ohio, taken after the derailment.

The U.S. Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement Thursday afternoon valued at over $310 million with Norfolk Southern, over the 2023 train derailment in East Palestine.

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.

“No community should have to experience the trauma inflicted upon the residents of East Palestine,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement. “That’s why President Biden pledged from the beginning that his Administration would stand with the community every step of the way. Today’s enforcement action delivers on this commitment, ensures the cleanup is paid for by the company, and helps prevent another disaster like this from happening again. Because of this settlement, residents and first responders will have greater access to health services, trains will be safer, and waterways will be cleaner.”

In total, Norfolk Southern estimates that it will spend more than $1 billion to address the contamination caused by the East Palestine derailment and improve rail safety and operations, according to a press release from the DOJ.

The amount includes this settlement with the United States valued at over $310 million, as well as around $780 million in environmental response costs incurred by Norfolk Southern. Norfolk Southern has estimated its costs since the derailment will exceed $200 million in rail safety enhancements, including those required by this settlement.

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, according to the DOJ.

Local & Statewide News Latest from WYSO
Kaitlin Schroeder (she/her) joined WYSO in 2024 with 10 years of experience in local news. This includes Dayton Daily News, Dayton Business Journal, the Morning Sentinel in Maine, and KosovaLive in Pristina, Kosovo.