(New York) The US government announced on Friday that it was filing a lawsuit against a railway company after the derailment of one of its trains, which caused environmental pollution in early February in a locality in Ohio.
The Department of Justice said in a statement that it had filed a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern for dumping pollutants into the environment after the accident, which upended the lives of residents of East Palestine and sparked fears for their health.
He claims that the group pay penalties and be held responsible for all costs related to the derailment.
“When a Norfolk Southern train derailed last month in East Palestine, Ohio, it released toxins into the air, soil and water, endangering the health and safety of people in communities surrounding areas,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“With this complaint, the Department of Justice and the EPA are acting to demand justice for the people of East Palestine and ensure that Norfolk Southern bears the financial burden. for the harm it has caused and continues to inflict on the population,” he added.
This derailment had caused a huge fire and some 2000 evacuations. Among other things, the train was carrying vinyl chloride, a carcinogenic and highly flammable chemical used in the manufacture of plastic.
The railway authorities then proceeded with “controlled” releases of vinyl chloride to avoid a possible explosion, releasing toxic fumes.
Some residents have since reported experiencing various symptoms, including headaches and rashes, and said they feared they might end up with cancers in a few years.
Questioned by a Senate committee, the CEO of the railway company said he was “terribly sorry” and pledged to change “the safety culture” within the group after several derailments.
The accident shone the spotlight on Norfolk Southern but also, more broadly, on the evolution of the regulations in force within the rail sector.