(NewsReady.com) – A toxic train wreck that happened months ago has caused major headaches in East Palestine, Ohio. Immediately after the accident, residents near the scene were ordered to evacuate as smoke from burning chemicals billowed into the sky. The company that operated the train has finally promised to pay homeowners who were impacted.
On May 9, Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw sent a letter to Senators JD Vance (R-OH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) informing them the company was setting up a compensation fund. The executive said they have already paid residents $15 million through their family assistance center, supported local businesses with purchases, and paid first responder agencies.
Shaw said the company previously announced the total cost related to the spill would be about $400 million. However, he admitted that the price did not include the cost of long-term health care, homes losing their value, and water treatment. So, the company has partnered with a firm to develop a plan for the real estate issue after evaluating the market. A fund will then be set up to pay people within a 5-mile radius whose homes sell for less than what they were worth on February 3. The catch is those homeowners would have to relinquish their right to sue after accepting compensation.
Senator Brown was not impressed by the company’s proposal. He said Norfolk Southern has not offered to compensate residents who were impacted and are not selling their homes.
Norfolk Southern isn’t offering ANY compensation to residents who stay in their homes. They want residents who take their offer to move away, lose out on future settlements & sign away their rights to sue.
Ohioans deserve their day in court to hold Norfolk Southern accountable.
— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) May 11, 2023
Senator Vance wants to ensure an accident like the one that happened in his state never happens again. He is pushing for lawmakers to pass the Railway Safety Act. The legislation moved through a Senate committee, despite resistance from Vance’s own party.
“If the rail industry crashes a train or sets off a chemical bomb in a place like East Palestine, the taxpayers pick up a huge amount of that tab. If we’re going to pick up the tab, we can demand some commonsense safety standards.” – Senator @JDVance1 pic.twitter.com/Q90uloPPpj
— Senator Vance Press Office (@SenVancePress) May 12, 2023
Vance said the rail industry needs to “observe proper safety standards” if they expect the government to pick up the tab when they are involved in labor disputes.
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