Monday, June 10, 2024

C&EN: "Settlement reached in Ohio train derailment case"

In this week's Chemical and Engineering News, this news (article by Priyanka Runwal): 

A $310 million settlement between the US and Norfolk Southern—the company responsible for the Feb. 3, 2023, train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio—is a step in the right direction but still contains gaps, residents and activists say.

The settlement, announced May 23 by the US Department of Justice and the US Environmental Protection Agency, follows a March 31, 2023, complaint filed by the federal agencies against Norfolk Southern for unlawful discharge of pollutants, oil, and hazardous substances into the air, water, and soil.

Eleven cars of the train were carrying hazardous materials that spilled and fueled a large fire. In a controversial move, authorities released and burned vinyl chloride, a highly flammable carcinogen used for making polyvinyl chloride that was present in five of the cars. Many residents who were evacuated reported feeling sick after returning to their homes, while local waterways displayed rainbow sheens and dead fish.

The settlement, if approved by the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, would require Norfolk Southern to pay for long-term environmental and health monitoring and mental health services for the community. It would also pay a civil penalty and support improved safety measures for transporting hazardous materials via rail.

It's genuinely surprising to me that it is just $310 million, although I suspect this is not the sum total of the amount of money Norfolk Southern will end up paying out. 


  1. Does this pay for residents to purchase new homes at the market rate of their homes before the derailment? I wouldn't want monitoring. Monitoring always is reactive. I would want to be out of there.

    1. I grew up around 15 minutes from this town. I'm surprised to find houses there that are valued much higher than I'd expect, including one that's for sale for $1.2M. My understanding was that everything in the immediate area is valued at virtually zero and the area is pretty low income already. I imagine that the ~ 5k residents there won't get any relocation/new home assistance.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20