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NS Issues East Palestine Progress Report

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
(NS Photograph)

(NS Photograph)

Norfolk Southern (NS) has released an update on its continuing remediation work following the Feb. 3 East Palestine, Ohio derailment.

“We have committed from day one to paying for all remediation costs associated with the derailment in East Palestine, and we are making progress as we continue to work closely with local, state and federal officials to enact a thorough long-term remediation plan,” NS said.

In its May 11 update, the Class I reported:

  • Removing 36,518 tons of waste soil and more than 14.5 million gallons of contaminants and contaminated liquid to date.
  • Completing the South Track soil removal and replacement project through a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved protocol.
  • Continuing North Track removal and excavation work, with contaminated site soil and water being moved to approved disposal facilities.
  • Conducting 631 in-home air tests and collecting thousands of data points through outdoor air monitoring. “Independent testing by the Ohio and U.S. Environmental Protection Agencies have indicated that the air and water are safe in East Palestine,” NS said.

Additionally, the railroad reported that it has invested more than $34.3 million into the region’s economy since Feb. 3, including:

  • Direct relief to more than 8,500 families, totaling $7.4 million.
  • A commitment of $7.5 million to reimburse various Pennsylvania government agencies and communities impacted by the derailment.
  • The establishment of a $1 million Community Fund to support immediate community needs in East Palestine.
  • The appointment of a dedicated community liaison, who reports directly to NS President and CEO Alan Shaw and who “is empowered to distribute $1 million into the community.”
  • A reimbursement and commitment to the East Palestine Fire Department of more than $3 million for fire equipment used in the derailment response.
  • A $300,000 donation to the East Palestine City School District to support the district’s academics, athletics and extra-curricular activities.
  • A commitment “to make meaningful improvements” in East Palestine City Park.

“We’re here today and we’ll continue to be here tomorrow and for many years to come. We’re committed to ensuring this community recovers and thrives,” NS Director, Corporate Giving Kristin Wong said.

In related developments, NS earlier this month reported establishing a fund to compensate homeowners in East Palestine for property value diminution. Also, the Class I on April 26 reported first-quarter 2023 financial results reflecting an initial $387 million charge associated with the Feb 3 derailment. “From the beginning, we have been guided by one principle: We are going to do whatever it takes to make it right for East Palestine and the surrounding areas,” NS President and CEO Alan H. Shaw said. “We are making progress every day and I’m proud of our people. Our response reflects our strategy of focusing on long-term priorities and value.”

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