The attorney general of Ohio, David Yost (R-OH) filed a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern railroad company on Tuesday contending that the company violated numerous state and federal laws on Tuesday according to Just The News. This lawsuit was in connection to the East Palestine disaster where one of Norfolk Southern’s trains carrying hazardous materials derailed. The lawsuit had according to CNN 58 counts to it.
The 66 year old attorney general asserted at a press conference that “[t]his derailment was entirely avoidable. I’m concerned that Norfolk Southern may be putting profits for their own company above the health and safety of the cities and communities they operate in.” Mr. Yost made mention that the derailment in East Palestine “caused the release of over 1 million gallons of hazardous chemicals and it endangered both the health and area residents of Ohio’s natural resources.”
Mr. Yost further commented that the lawsuit was there in part to ensure that Norfolk Southern keeps its promises over the clean up of the toxic chemical release of its train in East Palestine. The lawsuit notes that “[t]he [d]erailment was just one in a long string of Norfolk Southern train derailments, hazmat incidents/community evacuations, and releases of hazardous materials, hazardous substances, hazardous wastes, and/or other harmful pollutants into the environment. As detailed herein, Norfolk Southern’s accident rate has nearly doubled in the past 10 years, and at least 20 of those derailments since 2015 have involved chemical releases.”
The CEO of Norfolk Southern, Alan Shaw, told the Senate last week that he was “determined to make this right. Norfolk Southern will clean the site safely, thoroughly and with urgency. You have my personal commitment. Norfolk Southern will get the job done and help East Palestine thrive.”
Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), J.D. Vance (R-OH), Bob Casey Jnr. (D-PA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Fetterman (D-PA), and Josh Hawley (R-MO) had also acted on the federal level to sponsor legislation on the matter to prevent a repeat of the East Palestine disaster. They named their bill the Railway Safety Act of 2023 which was introduced to “enhance safety requirements for trains transporting hazardous materials, and for other purposes.”
Breitbart notes that a lobbying effort has begun against the bill’s passage. In particular they wrote that “a host of beltway groups, including one partially funded by Norfolk Southern and others with financial ties to the Koch network, are looking to tank Vance’s legislation.” On this matter, J.D. Vance tweeted that “Hmmm. A lot of the groups who don’t like my rail bill get paid by industry. Shocker!”
The drama over the consequences of a train derailment and the chemical poisoning of the small community of East Palestine has not yet abated. The incident has been forever branded into the public memory. The warm visit to the beleaguered populace of the village by Donald Trump, a former (and possible future) American president, compared to the detached attitude of the present administration has for many also embodied the divisions in the country. The issue of preventing a similar tragedy from unfolding is thus a paramount issue for many Americans.