Norfolk Southern Agrees to $310M Govt Settlement

Norfolk Southern Agrees to $310M Govt Settlement
Above: Ohio EPA and EPA contractors collect soil and air samples from the derailment site on March 9, 2023 in East Palestine, Ohio. Image copyright: Michael Swensen/Stringer/Getty Images News via Getty Images

The Facts

  • Norfolk Southern agreed to a $310M settlement related to damages caused by its Feb. 2023 train crash in East Palestine, Ohio, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday.

  • The settlement includes an estimated $235M towards past and future cleanup, a $15M penalty for violating the Clean Water Act, $25M for a 20-year community health program that will monitor the mental and physical health in impacted counties, and a $15M for water monitoring fund.

The Spin

Narrative A

While residents of East Palestine and the surrounding areas desperately want to put last year's traumatic train derailment behind them, many are fairly wondering if they will reap adequate rewards from Norfolk Southern's recent settlements. The railway is a massive company that rakes in billions, and its failures led to a catastrophic event with scary short and long-term health effects. It is hard to calculate all the damage the derailment caused, but when calculating payments, it seems like community residents are being shortchanged by the multibillion-dollar railway.

Narrative B

Norfolk Southern is committed to doing everything in its power to ease the burden caused by the East Palestine derailment, and it expects to spend nearly $2B in total costs. The railway disaster was a genuinely tragic accident, and the company stands behind everyone who was impacted. From investing in health measures to improve drinking water to directly compensating residents, Norfolk Southern hopes that it can come close to fairly compensating the community.

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