The big picture: The 58-count civil lawsuit filed in federal court seeks to hold one of the country’s largest freight rail operators financially responsible for the Feb. 3 train derailment that caused the release of over 1 million gallons of hazardous chemicals into the surrounding environment.
- The controlled release “recklessly” endangered the health of residents and Ohio’s natural resources, Yost alleges in the complaint.
Details: The lawsuit claims that dozens of violations of various federal and state environmental laws resulted in hazardous pollutants being released into the air, water and ground — potentially posing long-term threats to human health and the environment.
- It also alleges damage to the regional economy, local businesses and residents, many of whom have been displaced.
The state is seeking reimbursement for damages, incurred emergency response costs, repayment of court costs, as well as the recovery of lost taxes and other economic harm for the state and its residents.
- The attorney general is also seeking to recover the lost taxes, injunctive relief, civil penalties and court costs.
What they’re saying: “Ohio shouldn’t have to bear the tremendous financial burden of Norfolk Southern’s glaring negligence,” Yost said in a statement.
- “The fallout from this highly preventable incident may continue for years to come,” he added.
- Meanwhile, Norfolk Southern released a statement Tuesday saying, “We look forward to working toward a final resolution with Attorney General Yost.”
- The company said its goal is to “make it right” for the people of East Palestine and the surrounding communities, as it works to clean the incident site and provide financial assistance to affected residents and businesses.