EPA orders Norfolk Southern to pay for train crash clean-up
“The Norfolk Southern train derailment has upended the lives of East Palestine families, and EPA’s order will ensure the company is held accountable for jeopardizing the health and safety of this community,” Regan said in a statement. “Let me be clear: Norfolk Southern will pay for cleaning up the mess they created and for the trauma they’ve inflicted on this community.”
The company had already agreed to pay for all clean-up costs, but the order, issued under Regan’s authority under the federal Superfund law, formally puts Norfolk Southern on the hook. It will also have to pay for air monitoring and cleaning services offered by EPA in the weeks since the crash, which released various hazardous chemicals that were carried on the train while several tankers of chemicals were burned off to prevent an explosion.
The order marks a transition at EPA from emergency response to long-term remediation, the agency said. That will include the creation of a “unified command structure” to coordinate the response between various federal, state and local agencies, as well as Norfolk Southern.
“As we transition from emergency response, EPA will continue to coordinate closely with our local, state, and federal partners through a whole-of-government approach to support the East Palestine community during the remediation phase,” Regan said. “To the people of East Palestine, EPA stands with you now and for as long as it may take.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro on Tuesday said he has made a criminal referral to his acting attorney general, Michelle Henry. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine also vowed that Ohio Attorney General David Yost “will certainly take the appropriate action.”