Norfolk Southern derailment in East Palestine, Ohio

Norfolk Southern derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

(Photo: NTSB/Handout via Xinhua)

Norfolk Southern Agrees to Pay $600 Million—A Fraction of Its 2023 Profits—for East Palestine Disaster

The company reported nearly $3 billion in income from its railway operations last year.

A decision from a class-action lawsuit has determined Norfolk Southern will now have to pay $600 million—a mere fraction of the company’s 2023 profits—for the toxic derailment of its train in East Palestine, Ohio last year.

The decision deals with everyone within a 20-mile radius of the derailment. The train spilled more than a million pounds of hazardous chemicals in East Palestine.

"Individuals and businesses will be able to use compensation from the settlement in any manner they see fit to address potential adverse impacts from the derailment," the company said in a statement. "This could include healthcare needs and medical monitoring, property restoration and diminution, and compensation for any net business loss."

"We believe this is a fair, reasonable and adequate result for the community on a number of levels, not the least of which is the speed of the resolution, and the overall amount of the awards residents can expect, which will be significant for those most impacted by the derailment," said Seth Katz of Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, M. Elizabeth Graham of Grant & Eisenhofer, Jayne Conroy of Simmons Hanly Conroy and T. Michael Morgan of Morgan & Morgan, the attorneys for the plaintiffs, in a combined statement.

The Biden administration recently announced that at least two people will now have to be on board the trains of the country's largest freight operators, following the East Palestine disaster, which drew national attention to Norfolk Southern’s history of dangerous practices and lobbying against more stringent federal safety rules.

Last year, even after adjusting for a $1.1 billion hit associated with the East Palestine wreck, the company reported nearly $3 billion in income from its railway operations.

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