The state of Ohio filed a lawsuit against freight operator Norfolk Southern over the derailment of a toxic train last month in eastern Palestine.
He 58 count civil complaint It comes after more than 1 million gallons of toxic chemicals spilled into the area, and more burned up in the atmosphere, after the train skidded off the tracks in a heavy crash on February 3, causing led to the partial evacuation of the city in Ohio. -Pennsylvania border.
Some of the train cars contained dangerous vinyl chloride, which the company then decided to vent and burn to prevent an explosion.
“This derailment was completely preventable,” Ohio Attorney General David Yost said at a news conference. “I am concerned that Norfolk Southern may be putting its own company’s profits above the health and safety of the cities and communities in which it operates.”
The federal lawsuit seeks unspecified damages to pay for the state’s emergency response, as well as environmental damage. The company would also be responsible for future environmental monitoring of the area’s soil and water.
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“This was an epic disaster,” Yost said. “The cleanup is going to be expensive and it will take a significant amount of dollars to get the people of East Palestine back as close as possible to the position they were in before February 3rd.”
“Ohio should not have to bear the tremendous financial burden of Norfolk Southern’s gross negligence,” Yost added. “The consequences of this highly preventable accident will reverberate throughout Ohio for many years to come.”
A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board found that the train crew was trying to stop the train after a wheel overheated when it derailed.
Nearly two dozen individuals and businesses have already filed lawsuits against the company, alleging illnesses and deaths of pets and livestock since the derailment, among other symptoms and complaints. Despite federal and state officials saying the area is now safe, many are concerned about the incident’s long-term health effects.
Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw has pledged resources for the cleanup and restitution to residents and businesses for medical costs and lost property values.
“There is a long road between expressing will and a final program that adequately addresses the damage that has been done here,” Yost said. “This lawsuit is designed to ensure that Norfolk Southern keeps its word to the people of East Palestine and the people of Ohio.”
Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry announced in February that her office was investigating the derailment after state environmental officials made a criminal reference.