On February 3rd, 2023, a train holding toxic chemicals was derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. In efforts to avoid an explosion and ecological damage, responders took action by burning the dangerous chemical vinyl chloride that was being transported. This chemical is used in the production of plastic and paint and is known to be very toxic. When they burned this chemical, they released toxins into the air.
This made the air dangerous to breathe and caused over half of the population to evacuate for days. Norfolk Southern, the company responsible for this incident, has claimed they will do everything they can to properly clean the site of this accident and help get East Palestine back on track. Ohio has filed a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern to hold them accountable for their promises.
Many of the residents of East Palestine are experiencing health issues, such as headaches, nausea, and coughing, that are likely due to their exposure to the toxic air. The residents affected are looking to Norfolk Southern to pay the unexpected medical bills they now have. The state of Ohio and its residents should not be held financially responsible for the mistakes made by Norfolk Southern. There is no telling what the long-term effects of this accident will be for the residents and the surrounding ecosystems. Norfolk Southern appears to be genuine in their willingness to help East Palestine after this tragic accident.
The basis of this lawsuit is the violations against Ohio’s hazardous waste, water pollution, solid waste, and air pollution control laws. The state wants present and future costs of rebuilding covered, as well as protection of any damage incurred during the clean-up process. Norfolk Southern has promised $20 million dollars for the clean-up and started a long-term health fund. However, the state still filed the lawsuit to make sure they kept their promises.