EPA Orders Norfolk Southern to Cover East Palestine Train Derailment Cleanup Costs

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered Norfolk Southern to “conduct all cleanup actions associated with the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment” on Tuesday, February 21.

Video live-streamed on Tuesday shows EPA Administrator, Michael Regan, announcing that Norfolk Southern would be required to pay the clean-up costs.

Regan said that “Norfolk Southern will pay for cleaning up the mess they created and for the trauma they inflicted on this community.”

The EPA explained that the order required the company to pay for the clean-up, including reimbursing the federal, state and local agencies involved.

The EPA administrator was joined by other government officials including Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro and East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway.

Norfolk Southern issued a statement as CEO Alan Shaw, visited East Palestine who said he “shared how deeply sorry I am this happened to their home” when meeting with community members on Saturday, February 18. Credit: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency via Storyful

Video transcript

- But let me also be crystal clear, Norfolk Southern will pay for cleaning up the mess that they created and the trauma that they inflicted on this community and impacted Beaver County residents. Today, I'm announcing that EPA is ordering Norfolk Southern to conduct all necessary actions associated with the cleanup from the East Peloton train derailment.

Using EPA's legal authorities, I am ordering Norfolk Southern to do the following; Norfolk Southern will clean up all contamination in soil and water and safely transport that contamination to the appropriate locations to ensure that residents are not impacted further from the debris and the chemicals you see in the waterways to the soil in and around the crash site. This work will be done to EPA specifications.

Norfolk Southern will reimburse EPA for cleaning services, and Norfolk Southern will attend and participate in public meetings at EPA's request and share information with the public. Full transparency is the only option. And to ensure that this is done in a way that leaves this community whole again, EPA will review and approve Norfolk Southern's work plan with state and local government input.

If the company fails to complete any action ordered by EPA, the agency will immediately step in, conduct the work ourselves, and then force Norfolk Southern to pay triple in cost accordance to the powers granted by my agency.