The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered Norfolk Southern on Tuesday to conduct all cleanup associated with a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, earlier this month that caused hazardous chemicals to be released into the environment, according to its press release.
The company will be responsible for cleaning up contaminated soil and water sources, reimbursing the EPA for cleaning services provided to local residents and businesses, cover the cost for all EPA work associated with cleanup efforts and attend public meetings and publish information online at the EPA’s discretion, the press release reads. The order comes more than two weeks after a controlled burn of hazardous chemicals cast a toxic plume over the town while attempting to prevent an explosion.
“The Norfolk Southern train derailment has upended the lives of East Palestine families, and EPA’s order will ensure the company is held accountable for jeopardizing the health and safety of this community,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in the press release. “Let me be clear: Norfolk Southern will pay for cleaning up the mess they created and for the trauma they’ve inflicted on this community.”
The EPA was on the scene of the crash site hours after the derailment and has monitored more than 550 homes for potential contamination, the press release reads. The reports found no detection of vinyl chloride or hydrogen chloride in the homes at “levels of concern.”
The order transitions response in East Palestine from an “’emergency phase’ to a longer-term remediation phase,” the press release reads. The EPA will continue coordinating a multi-agency response from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Ohio EPA, the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Norfolk Southern.
“I’m deeply grateful to the emergency responders, including EPA personnel, who’ve been on the ground since day one and ensured there was no loss of life as a result of this disaster,” Regan said. “As we transition from emergency response, EPA will continue to coordinate closely with our local, state, and federal partners through a whole-of-government approach to support the East Palestine community during the remediation phase. To the people of East Palestine, EPA stands with you now and for as long as it may take.”
The EPA used the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act to establish the order, according to the press release. The act gives the agency “the authority to order those responsible for pollution to clean it up” and the order will officially be implemented two days after being signed.
Norfolk Southern did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment. The EPA referred the DCNF to its press release.
Post written by Alexa Schwera. Republished with permission from DCNF. Images and headlines via Becker News.
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