DOJ, EPA Sue Norfolk Southern Over Toxic Cleanup from Train Derailment

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have filed a legal complaint against Norfolk Southern for the train derailment that spilled hazardous chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio.*

The civil complaint is seeking “penalties and injunctive relief for the unlawful discharge of pollutants, oil and hazardous substances under the Clean Water Act.” The complaint also seeks declaratory judgment for past and future costs under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). (source)

The lawsuit states the DOJ and the EPA are acting to pursue justice for the residents of East Palestine and ensure that Norfolk Southern carries the financial burden for the harm it has caused and continues to inflict on the community.


train derail lawsuit from DOJ+EPA


State Lawsuit

The state of Ohio sued Norfolk Southern on March 14, 2023 to ensure that the company pays for the cleanup and environmental damage caused by the derailment, as well as fund future groundwater and soil monitoring. In late February, 2023 the EPA issued an order requiring Norfolk Southern to develop and implement plans to address environmental contamination and pay for EPA response costs associated with the order.

*The East Palestine, Ohio train derailment on Feb. 3, 2023 caused 38 cars of a 151-car train to derail and 12 other train cars caught on fire. Eleven of the derailed cars contained hazardous materials, including vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, ethylhexyl acrylate and isobutylene, which are widely considered to be toxic. Chemicals were released into the air in a controlled release and burn to reduce the danger of an explosion. Residents were evacuated for several days during the initial controlled burn and cleanup.  Since returning home, some residents have reported health problems, including bronchitis and burning sensations. There have also been wildlife deaths, including tens of thousands of dead fish in waterways within the 7.5 mile radius, and concerns about air and water quality.