The Ohio attorney general’s office filed a complaint in federal court Tuesday against Norfolk Southern Railway, alleging the company violated hazardous waste and water quality laws and caused a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, last month. Negligence caused landing and toxic chemical release.
The lawsuit — which addresses alleged damages to the state, its economy and its natural resources — adds to the railway’s legal woes in the wake of the train derailment and subsequent release of toxic chemicals, which the complaint says involved 1 Contains over a million gallons of hazardous materials. Material.
The lawsuit adds to the pressure on Norfolk Southern and could be a legal route to address the long-lasting effects from chemicals spilled and burned in East Palestine. The suit demands the court order the company to pay for future environmental monitoring, and reimburse the state for costs associated with its response and remediation, among other concerns.
“The fallout of this highly preventable accident will reverberate through Ohio and Ohioans for many years to come,” Ohio Attorney General David Yost said at a news conference. “The company has repeatedly said they want to fix this. Our lawsuit is designed to make sure they keep their promise.
In a statement sent to NBC News, Norfolk Southern said it aims to “make it right for the people of East Palestine and its surrounding communities,” adding that it is “listening closely to the community’s concerns about whether long time may last—the effects of the train derailment” and noting that company representatives recently met with Yost to discuss additional programs the railway might offer to residents.
The statement said the company is interested in developing programs to protect drinking water, creating a long-term medical compensation fund and “providing tailored protections for home sellers if their property values decline due to the effects of the derailment.” loses.”
“We look forward to working toward a final resolution with Attorney General Yost and others as his office coordinates with community leaders and other stakeholders to finalize the details of these programs,” the statement said. Looking forward.”
There has been a spate of lawsuits by private citizens. Yost said the lawsuit will run parallel to those complaints.
“Private lawsuits represent individual people with varying damages. Our lawsuit is seeking broad damages to the state of Ohio, to its environment, to its economy, as well as to people,” Yost said. “They are the same are about different consequences of fact.”
Yost said the state believes the derailment was preventable and it is concerned about Norfolk’s extensive safety record in recent years.
“This derailment was completely avoidable. I am concerned that Norfolk & Southern is putting profits for their own company above the health and safety of the cities and communities in which they operate,” Yost said.
Norfolk Southern did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.