Update on the Ohio Train Derailment

By: Heather Farr

It has been a little over a month since the catastrophic train derailment happened in Ohio. Since then, Ohio Attorney General David Yost filed a 58-count federal lawsuit against the train company, Norfolk Southern. They are claiming that the crash which was carrying numerous hazardous chemicals was solely the fault of Norfolk Southern train company. They are also adding to the claim that their negligence is risking the health of the people near the crash and the areas surrounding it as well as the economy and environment. They are looking to have the company pay for the damages caused by the crash, civil penalties, and refund the city and state for the losses and damages. During a news conference that happened in Ohio’s capital, Columbus, Dave Yost states that “This derailment was entirely avoidable,” also that he is “concerned that Norfolk Southern is putting profits for their own company above the health and safety of the cities and communities that they operate in” (The New York Times).

Norfolk Southern has stated that they have been in communications with the Ohio attorney’s office about how they can create programs to help with the long-term effects that the crash could cause. This includes monitoring the environment and paying for the medical costs of people that lived close to the crash site.

There have been safety experts investigating the crash that are saying that part of the reason for the derailment was that the company did not place the detectors close enough together. Which has also started talks about making new regulations since federal law does not state that they are required.

Along with the 58-count lawsuit from Attorney General Yost, there have been over two dozen private lawsuits from the residents in East Liverpool. There have also been talks with Josh Shapiro who is the Governor of Pennsylvania about whether or not the towns that border Ohio close to the derailment site have cause for criminal charges against the company as well.

Norfolk Southern has been criticized for both the train derailment and the decision that was made three days after. This decision was to take the chemicals that were close to the train tracts and burn them which released gallons of vinyl chloride into the air. Although this was done to avoid an explosion near the crash site people believe that there were better alternative routes that could have been taken.

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