Norfolk Southern Reaches $310 Million Settlement with EPA, DOJ over East Palestine Derailment

Norfolk Southern reached a $310 million settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice on Thursday over a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, last year.

The settlement, which has yet to be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, requires Norfolk Southern to spend an estimated $235 million for clean-up, $30 million for water quality monitoring, $25 million for a 20-year community health program, and $6 million to prioritize addressing historical pollution through a “waterways remediation plan,” reported the Washington Examiner.

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CDC Investigators Got Sick While Probing Ohio Toxic Train Derailment

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials investigating potential health impacts in a small Ohio town impacted by a toxic train derailment became ill during their study, CNN reported.

Seven CDC members reported sore throats, headaches, coughing and nausea while in East Palestine, Ohio, weeks after a Norfolk Southern train derailed in early February and a controlled burn leaked hazardous materials, including vinyl chloride, into the environment, the CDC told CNN on Thursday. The CDC members’ symptoms are consistent with health complaints reported by residents and first responders.

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Eco-Conscious ESG Investors Among Top Shareholders in Rail Giant Under Fire for Toxic Spill

Three of the five top shareholders in Norfolk Southern — the freight rail carrier under the spotlight for its saftey and environmental record following last month’s toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio — have been aligned with the eco-conscious, socially aware ESG (environmental, social, governance) investing framework embraced by many leading financial firms in recent years. Asset management firms BlackRock Fund Advisors, JPMorgan Investment Management, and The Vanguard Group were all part of the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, a coalition of ESG-minded money mangers committed to channeling investment capital to firms working toward the goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as outlined in the Paris Climate Accord.

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Republican National Committee Criticizes President’s Biden Weekend Trip to Delaware amid East Palestine Train Derailment Disaster

President Joe Biden departed the White House Friday en route to Delaware for the 66th time since taking office this weekend, which drew criticism from the Republican National Committee (RNC). According to the RNC, Biden has spent approximately 40 percent of his presidency “on vacation,” with this weekend marking his 306th, 307th, and 308th total vacation days. Of that 40 percent, the RNC noted that Biden has spent 55 of 110 weekends in Delaware.

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Train Company Hit with Class Action Lawsuit After Toxic Derailment in Ohio

Ohio residents filed a class action lawsuit on Thursday against the railroad company Norfolk Southern after a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in early February and cast a toxic plume of chemicals over the town and polluted the air and water, according to the lawsuit’s text. Johnson and Johnson, a Youngstown, Ohio, based firm and Hagens Berman represent residents within a 30 mile radius of the East Palestine crash site, according to the lawsuit’s text. Residents reported various health concerns including headaches and rashes and worry about the long-term impact that the derailment could have on the community.

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Pennsylvania Residents Speak to State Senate About Ill Effects of Train Burn

Western Pennsylvanians who live near the site of the February 3 Norfolk Southern train derailment and subsequent burn went before a State Senate Committee Thursday to state that the event is causing deleterious health consequences.  The 53-car train derailed in the village of East Palestine, Ohio, less than a mile from where the Buckeye State abuts Beaver County in Pennsylvania. In the crash’s aftermath, the train company proceeded to burn five rail cars containing vinyl chloride, a course of action company officials said would avert a potentially disastrous explosion. Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro (D) initially supported what has been called the “controlled burn” but has subsequently blasted Norfolk Southern for its handling of the incident, particularly its decision to burn five cars; Shapiro asserted he was only told one car would be incinerated. 

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EPA Takes over Management of Ohio Train Accident, Orders Railway to Clean Up Toxic Spill

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday announced that it would be seizing oversight of the ongoing Ohio train derailment disaster, ordering the company behind the incident to submit to an EPA-approved cleanup plan as part of its management of the crisis. The EPA said in a press release that it would “approve a workplan outlining all steps necessary to clean up the environmental damage caused by the derailment.”

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Senators JD Vance, Marco Rubio Send Letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg Demanding Answers on East Palestine Train Derailment

Ohio Senator JD Vance (R-OH) and Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday amid the ongoing situation surrounding the recent train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

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