NewsNational NewsScripps News


White House orders continued support for East Palestine derailment

A new executive order ensures Norfolk Southern will be accountable for cleanup costs in the community.
White House orders continued support for East Palestine derailment
Posted at 8:07 PM, Sep 20, 2023

The train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, spilled toxic chemicals with unknown effects into the water, the ground and the air, prompting evacuations and a massive cleanup effort that's still underway today.

Now the Biden Administration is taking new steps to make sure train company Norfolk Southern remains accountable for the disaster.

In an executive order signed on Wednesday, the White House made arrangements to continue recovery efforts in East Palestine and surrounding areas, and to get the resources it needs from Norfolk Southern.

"It is critical that Norfolk Southern continue to be held fully accountable under the law for this disaster, and continue to provide resources to address the effects in East Palestine and surrounding communities," the order reads.

In April, Norfolk Southern estimated the disaster would cost $387 million. In July, the company revised its estimate to $803 million.


SEE MORE: Cost of Norfolk Southern train derailment doubles to $803 million

The new order directs the EPA, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies to advance policy that holds Norfolk Southern responsible for the disaster. The agencies will name a federal disaster recovery coordinator, who will oversee the long-term recovery and make sure that Norfolk Southern meets the needs of the community.

The EPA is supervising cleanup, which is the responsibility of Norfolk Southern and its contractors.

The EPA has run air, water and soil sampling, and moved "more than 115,000 tons of contaminated soil and more than 33 million gallons of contaminated liquid" away from the disaster area. Testing and federal reporting from the EPA and the Department of Health and Human Services are expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

Trending stories at