Governor says Norfolk Southern to Pay Pennsylvania Millions for Train Derailment

Norfolk Southern has pledged several million dollars to cover the cost of the response and recovery in Pennsylvania after last month’s derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals just across the border in Ohio, Gov. Josh Shapiro said.

Norfolk Southern has agreed to pay:

  • $5,000,000 to reimburse local fire departments in Western Pennsylvania that need to replace contaminated or damaged equipment that was used in responding to the derailment.
  • $1,000,000 for a Community Relief Fund to be run by Beaver and Lawrence County officials to support business owners and residents impacted by the derailment.
  • $950,000 to cover Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) work in Western Pennsylvania.
  • $400,000 for the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s (DOH) services, including:
    • Costs associated with the Health Resource Center (HRC) – which has already served more than 250 residents in since opening on February 28 – like rent, supplies, and staff time.
    • Costs associated with DOH’s Poison Control Call Line, which has tracked every call related to train derailment.
  • $30,000 to cover the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency’s (PEMA) staff time since the Commonwealth Response Coordination Center (CRCC) activation.

Norfolk Southern’s agreement to pay these costs is separate and apart from any otherwise applicable legal obligations that might be imposed.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered Norfolk Southern to cover the costs of cleanup from the derailment that toppled 38 rail cars in East Palestine, Ohio. No one was hurt, but concerns over a explosion led state and local officials to approve releasing and burning toxic vinyl chloride from five tanker cars.

The resulting fire prompted the evacuation of half of East Palestine and the surrounding area near the Pennsylvania border.

Federal and state officials have repeatedly said it’s safe for evacuated residents to return to the area and that air testing in the town and inside hundreds of homes hasn’t detected any concerning levels of contaminants. However, some residents say they’re still suffering from illnesses nearly a month later.