Rail Company Reaches $310 Million Settlement With Biden EPA For East Palestine Derailment

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Norfolk Southern Railway Company reached an agreement to pay $310 million to settle claims from the February 2023 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, the Environmental Protection Agency announced.

A train carrying toxic chemicals derailed near East Palestine, Ohio, Feb. 3, 2023 prompting evacuations and shelter-in-place orders as authorities moved to address the release of the chemicals. The settlement includes a $15 million civil penalty to be paid by the company, as well as additional health measures, the EPA announced in a Thursday release. (RELATED: ‘Too Little, Too Late’: East Palestine Residents Needle Biden’s Response To Toxic Derailment, Protest Ahead Of Visit)

“No community should have to experience the trauma inflicted upon the residents of East Palestine,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in the release. “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.”

The railroad previously agreed to a $600 million settlement with victims of the derailment in April. In addition to the release of chemicals like hydrogen chloride gas, phosgene and benzene, officials carried out a controlled burn of chemicals after warning of a possible “catastrophic blast” Feb. 6, 2023.

President Joe Biden visited East Palestine Feb. 16, over a year after the derailment. Former President Donald Trump delivered water and other supplies to the town Feb. 22, 2023, a day before Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg visited.

Total cleanup costs are expected to exceed $1 billion, according to the EPA release.

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