Norfolk Southern agrees to $600 million settlement in East Palestine train derailment


(NEW YORK) — Norfolk Southern has agreed to a $600 million settlement to resolve a class action lawsuit related to the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, in February 2023.

The settlement still needs to be approved by a judge.

“If approved by the court, the agreement will resolve all class action claims within a 20-mile radius from the derailment and, for those residents who choose to participate, personal injury claims within a 10-mile radius from the derailment,” Norfolk Southern said in a statement.

The spill forced hundreds of nearby residents out of their homes and sparked fears, as five tankers carried vinyl chloride, which posed serious health risks, exploded, sending a massive plume of black smoke into the sky. Vinyl chloride burning can create dioxins, which are carcinogenic, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Norfolk Southern outlined how the settlement will be split up: $104 million for community assistance, including $25 million for a regional safety center, $21 million for a park, $21 million in direct payments to residents and $9 million to first responders; $4.3 million to improve water infrastructure; $2 million for “community-directed projects”; and a $500,000 grant for economic development.

“The agreement is designed to provide finality and flexibility for settlement class members,” the company wrote. “Individuals and businesses will be able to use compensation from the settlement in any manner they see fit to address potential adverse impacts from the derailment. This could include healthcare needs and medical monitoring, property restoration and diminution, and compensation for any net business loss.”

No one was injured in the derailment itself, but residents of the area have complained about a variety of nagging health issues in the months.

Ashley McCollum, a resident of East Palestine who lived in a hotel for a year after the derailment and chemical leak, told ABC News earlier this year that her family has experienced issues including “rashing, numbness and tingling in your mouth, ear pain, blood in your ears, hair loss.”

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