Energy & Environment

Norfolk Southern to provide financing for temporary relocation during soil cleanup

A large plume of smoke rises over East Palestine, Ohio, after a controlled detonation of a portion of the derailed Norfolk Southern trains Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Norfolk Southern Railway will pay for temporary relocation for people who live within a mile of the site of a train derailment that spilled hazardous chemicals, amid ongoing cleanup efforts. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in a Sunday update that the company will provide “additional financial assistance” to affected residents of East Palestine, Ohio, which may include “temporary lodging, travel, food, clothing, and other necessities.”

The update comes as “some residents close to the derailment site may notice additional odors” while work is being done on the soil there. The EPA also said that the financial assistance is coming at its request. 

Local organizers said that they were glad to hear about the assistance, but argued that more needs to be done.

“This helps our short-term problem, but we will need longer-term relocation options, independent environmental testing, ongoing health monitoring, and safe disposal of the toxic waste,” Daniel Winston, co-executive director of local group River Valley Organizing said in a written statement.

Asked about the latest update on the cleanup effort, a company spokesperson said it was working on removing tracks and excavating the soil underneath. 

The company added that it is using “additional air monitors” and will continue to monitor the area’s water quality as well.

A Norfolk Southern train carrying materials including the carcinogen vinyl chloride derailed last month. Officials have said that it is safe for residents to be in the area, but community members have expressed concerns about their health.

Tags East Palestine train derailment Norfolk Southern

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