Ohio Sues Norfolk Southern

State accuses rail company of 'glaring negligence'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2023 5:43 PM CDT
Ohio Sues Norfolk Southern
This photo taken with a drone shows portions of a Norfolk Southern freight train still burning the day after the Feb. 3 derailment.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Ohio filed a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern in federal court on Tuesday, listing 58 complaints against the railroad company and accusing it of "recklessly endangering the health of Ohioans" after a Feb. 3 derailment in the village of East Palestine. The state is seeking civil penalties and other damages to pay for the massive cleanup efforts, reports Reuters. "This derailment was entirely avoidable," Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost told reporters. The AP reports that the lawsuit is also seeking an order for Norfolk Southern to pay for groundwater and soil monitoring around the village for years to come, along with compensation for economic losses.

"Ohio shouldn’t have to bear the tremendous financial burden of Norfolk Southern’s glaring negligence," Yost said in a statement," per the Hill. "The fallout from this highly preventable incident may continue for years to come, and there’s still so much we don’t know about the long-term effects on our air, water, and soil." According to the lawsuit, the derailment resulted in the release of more than a million gallons of hazardous materials, "killing tens of thousands of fish and other animals."

In a statement, the company said it has been focusing on cleaning up the area and supporting businesses and residents, and it is looking forward to working toward a "final resolution with Attorney General Yost and others." The lawsuit doesn't state how much the state is seeking, but Yost made it clear that the cost will be huge, the AP reports. "This was an epic disaster," he said. (More Norfolk Southern stories.)

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