Norfolk Southern Announces Massive Settlement for Those Within a 20-Mile Radius of East Palestine

Norfolk Southern Railway has agreed to pay residents in and around East Palestine, Ohio, more than $600 million after one of the company’s trains derailed resulting in an environmental catastrophe.

The Feb. 3, 2023, derailment caused fires that burned for days and emitted chemicals, such as hydrogen chloride and phosgene, into the air and ground.

Residents were ordered to leave the area by Republican Governor Mike DeWine, and a year later the long-term effects of the pollution remain unknown.

Images of the disaster captivated the country:

According to a company news release published on Tuesday morning, Norfolk Southern will pay those affected by the disaster as part of a settlement that is a repose to a class-action lawsuit.

“Norfolk Southern Corporation announced Tuesday that it has reached a $600 million agreement in principle to resolve a consolidated class action lawsuit relating to the East Palestine derailment,” the company said.

Norfolk Southern added, “If approved by the court, the agreement will resolve all class action claims within a 20-mile radius from the derailment and, for those residents who choose to participate, personal injury claims within a 10-mile radius from the derailment.”

The company claimed in its news release that offering to settle was an effort to “to make it right for the people of East Palestine and the surrounding communities.”

Norfolk Southern admitted the calamity had affected drinking water, home values and the health and well-being of those in and around East Palestine.

The company said in addition to the cash settlement, it would continue to help people in the area have access to clean water and would help them prop up the local economy.

“Individuals and businesses will be able to use compensation from the settlement in any manner they see fit to address potential adverse impacts from the derailment,” the company said.

Norfolk Southern added, “This could include healthcare needs and medical monitoring, property restoration and diminution, and compensation for any net business loss.

“In addition, individuals within 10-miles of the derailment may, at their discretion, choose to receive additional compensation for any past, current, or future personal injury from the derailment.”

The company added that it had already invested a sum well in excess of $100 million into the region.

Norfolk Southern also denied it was culpable for the derailment as part of the settlement noting, “This agreement does not include or constitute any admission of liability, wrongdoing, or fault.”

The company said it hopes a federal court will accept the settlement by the end of the month.

People who had been part of the lawsuit could be compensated by the end of the year, pending approval by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

The derailment devastated wildlife and was blamed on improper braking safety and maintenance practices, Bloomberg reported.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

 

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