Norfolk Company will compensate more than 300 million for the derailment with toxic material in Ohio – La Opinion

Norfolk Company will compensate more than 300 million for the derailment with toxic material in Ohio – La Opinion

On February 3, 2023, the tranquility in East Palestine, Ohio, was interrupted when a train carrying hazardous materials derailed, causing a day-long fire. The accident spewed toxic gases into the air, contaminated the ground and forced residents to abandon their residences.

More than a year after that moment, the American railway company Norfolk Southern will pay more than 300 million dollars as compensation for the damage caused after the derailment of a train with toxic material.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced this Thursday the agreement reached with the company, which forces the company to pay for monitoring the health status of the communities affected by the dumping, as well as to take concrete measures to improve railway safety.

Most of the funds that Norfolk Southern will provide, about $235 million, will go toward cleaning up the area where the chemicals were spilled. after the derailment in February 2023, the EPA detailed in a statement.

Derailment of 50 train cars in Ohio causes fire and evacuations. Matt Rourke/AP

“Thanks to this agreement, residents and emergency teams will have greater access to health services, trains will be safer and waterways will be cleaner,” the EPA director said in the letter.

The settlement stems from a lawsuit the Justice Department and EPA filed against Norfolk Southern in March 2023 over environmental damage caused by the derailment.

Last April, the railroad agreed to pay another $600 million to avoid going to trial in a class-action lawsuit brought by East Palestine residents.

The train derailment occurred on February 3 when it was passing through that town of less than 5,000 inhabitants and located 60 kilometers from the industrial city of Pittsburgh.close to the Ohio border with Pennsylvania.

Half of the residents of East Palestine had to be emergency evacuated.

Officials seeking to avoid the danger of an uncontrolled explosion opted to intentionally release and burn toxic vinyl chloride from five train cars, causing flames and black smoke to rise into the sky again.

The scene left people questioning the possible health impacts on residents in the area and beyond, even as authorities maintained they were doing everything they could to protect people.

Vinyl chloride is associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancer, and officials warned at the time that burning it would release two worrying gases.

Despite that, environmental officials said monitors detected toxins in the air at the site during the controlled burn and that officials kept people away until they dissipated.

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