The train disaster in East Palestine, Ohio has been devastating for the small town, and the vast majority of people are adamant that Norfolk Southern, the train company responsible for the train, should bear total responsibility for all the consequences following the accident. While there has been a tremendous amount of rhetoric in the media, it appears that legal action is now taking place. The Ohio Attorney General, Dave Yost, announced that he had filed a federal lawsuit against the company, stating that the state should not have to bear any of the financial responsibility for the glaring negligence of the train company.
More than a month ago, a Norfolk Southern train was carrying hazardous chemicals, including butyl acrylic and vinyl chloride, when it derailed in the small town. The cars immediately caught fire, residents were exposed to a variety of toxic fumes, and a significant portion of the town was forced to evacuate.
The train crash turned into an environmental disaster, spilling toxins into the surrounding environment, and causing incalculable environmental harm in the process. As of now, Ohio is seeking at least $75,000 in damages, but that amount is likely to climb much higher.
While accidents happen from time to time, they are absolutely tragic when they are preventable. There are numerous regulations in the transportation industry that train companies have to follow, but many of these regulations have been scaled back due to aggressive lobbying and an effort on the part of training companies to cut their overhead expenses. It remains to be seen whether Norfolk Southern overlooked the train regulations that still remain, but the reality is that the town, and its residents, have suffered tremendously as a result of the accident.
In public, Norfolk Southern has stated that they are prioritizing the cleanup process and that their goal is to rectify the situation. At the same time, the company is already facing a tremendous amount of pressure from the Transportation Secretary and the Environmental Protection Agency, as both organizations have said that they are taking control of the cleanup process and that they will hold the train company accountable. In the meantime, the residents continue to fear for their safety.