The Ohio Attorney General’s office filed a complaint against Norfolk Southern Railway in federal court on Tuesday, alleging that the company violated hazardous waste and water quality laws and was negligent for causing the train derailment and toxic chemical releases last month in East Palestine, Ohio.
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 included more than 1 million gallons of hazardous materials.
The lawsuit increases pressure on Norfolk Southern and could be a legal route to address long-lasting impacts from spilled and burned chemicals in East Palestine. The suit asks the court to require that company pay for future environmental monitoring, and reimburse the state for costs associated with its response and for remediation, among other concerns.
” The fallout from this extremely preventable accident will reverberate throughout Ohio, and Ohioans, for many years,” stated David Yost (Ohio’s Attorney General) in a press conference. The company repeatedly stated that they wanted to fix it. Our lawsuit is designed to make sure they keep their promise.”
In a statement sent to NBC News, Norfolk Southern said that its goal “has been to make it right for the people of East Palestine and its surrounding communities, saying it was “listening closely to concerns from the community about whether there could be long-term impacts from the derailment” and noting that company representatives recently met with Yost to discuss additional programs the railway may choose to offer to residents.
The company stated that it was looking to develop programs to safeguard drinking water and create long-term compensation funds for medical expenses.
” “We look forward in working with Attorney General Yost as well as other stakeholders, such him, community leaders and other stakeholders, to complete the details of these programs,” said the statement.
A flurry of lawsuits have been filed by private citizens. Yost stated that this lawsuit would run parallel to those complaints.
” Private lawsuits are filed by individuals who claim individual damages. Our lawsuit is seeking damages to the state of Ohio, to its environment, to its economy, as well as the broader damage to the people,” Yost said. “They’re about different consequences of the same facts.”
Yost said the state believes that the derailment could have been prevented and that it is concerned about Norfolk’s broader safety record in recent years.
” This derailment could have been avoided. Yost stated that he is concerned Norfolk and Southern might be placing profits above the safety and health of communities and cities they serve.
Norfolk Southern did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
The post Ohio sues Norfolk Southern over train derailment appeared first on NBC News.