The U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last month filed a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern Corporation and Norfolk Southern Railway Company (Norfolk Southern) over the toxic train crash in East Palestine, Ohio.
On February 3, a Norfolk-Southern train carrying 10 cars carrying hazardous materials derailed, causing hazardous chemicals including vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, ethylhexyl acrylate, and ethylene glycol monobutyl ether to flow onto the ground and sending a plume of smoke into the air. The crash forced nearly half of East Palestine’s 5,000 residents to evacuate for a time.
The DOJ’s complaint seeks to indict Norfolk Southern for the unlawful discharge of pollutants, oil and hazardous substances under the Clean Water Act and for past and future clean-up costs and damage from the event under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act liable (CERCLA).
“When a Norfolk Southern train derailed in eastern Palestine, Ohio last month, it released toxins into the air, soil and water, endangering the health and safety of people in surrounding communities,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement on Friday .
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“Through this complaint, the Department of Justice and EPA are acting to seek justice for residents of East Palestine and to ensure that Norfolk Southern bears the financial burden for the harm it has caused and continues to cause to the community.”
“From the beginning, I have promised the people of eastern Palestine that the EPA will hold Norfolk Southern fully responsible for threats to the health and safety of the community,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.
“No community should have to go through what the residents of East Palestine went through. With today’s action, we are once again fulfilling our commitment to ensure Norfolk Southern cleans up the mess they have made and pays for the damage they have caused, while we work to ensure this community can feel safe again at home.”
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The DOJ notes that the fire caused by the derailment burned for several days. On February 5, surveillance showed that the temperature in one of the vinyl chloride wagons had risen to prevent an explosion. Norfolk in the south vented and burned five train cars containing vinyl chloride in a torch ditch the next day, resulting in the release of even more toxic chemicals.
On February 21, EPA issued a unilateral administrative order under CECA to Norfolk Southern, requiring the company to develop and implement contamination response plans and pay EPA’s response costs associated with the order.
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Since that order, the EPA has been monitoring the work of this company and has determined that approximately 9.2 million gallons of liquid wastewater and an estimated 12,932 tons of contaminated soil and solids have been shipped from the site.
The DOJ said Friday that the EPA and other federal agencies “continue to investigate the circumstances before and after the derailment” and that the DOJ will “take additional action as warranted in the future as its investigative work progresses.”
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The lawsuit was filed in coordination with the US Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio and the Division of Environment and Natural Resources of the Department of Justice.
Source : www.foxnews.com