Ohio sues Norfolk Southern over East Palestine train derailment


Ohio is suing Norfolk Southern after a railroad train carrying toxic chemicals derailed last month, causing an environmental disaster.

State Attorney General Dave Yost (R) announced the federal case at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. The 58-count lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Northeast Ohio, seeks more than $75,000 in damages, and Yost said that amount could rise significantly.

“Ohio should not have to bear the enormous financial burden of Norfolk Southern’s blatant negligence,” Yost said. “The fallout from this highly preventable incident could continue for years to come, and we don’t know the long-term effects on our air, water and soil.”

Norfolk Southern did not immediately respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Before the Ohio derailment, Norfolk Southern lobbied against conservation provisions

Local and state officials are calculating the amount of money Ohio has spent since the derailment, Yost said at a news conference, saying it’s too early to put a number on the lawsuit.

“We monitor those funds at the state and local level,” Yost said. “That meter is running.”

When a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous chemicals such as vinyl chloride and butyl acrylate derailed in East Palestine, Ohio on February 3, the cars burst into flames and surrounding residents were evacuated. Authorities released a toxic chemical compound three days later to prevent a possible explosion.

The Environmental Protection Agency is handling the cleanup of Norfolk Southern and is monitoring the effects of the derailment and chemical release.

More than 1 million gallons of toxic chemicals were released after the derailment, the suit says, “responsibly endangering” the health of the city’s 4,700 residents and Ohio’s natural resources.

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Central and local officials told residents immediately after the derailment that the water was safe to drink, then urged them to drink bottled water. The strong chemical odor was detected long after officials said the air was safe to breathe.

Residents worry they don’t have enough information to make informed decisions about their safety.

Environmental officials have said there is little evidence that the derailment and its contamination pose long-term health risks to residents of eastern Palestine, who want more testing.

Senators investigate communication lapses in toxic Ohio train disaster

This is a developing story that will be updated. Justin McDaniel contributed to this report.

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