March 06, 2023
Norfolk Southern has pledged to pay Pennsylvania $7.4 million to provide relief to the residents affected by the railraod's train derailment just over the border in East Palestine, Ohio last month.
The sum includes a $5 million reimbursement for the western Pennsylvania fire departments that responded to the disaster, and a $1 million community relief fund for impacted residents and business owners, Gov. Josh Shapiro said Monday. Payments of $400,000 and $30,000 will go to the state's departments of environmental protection and health, respectively, for their work following the derailment.
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, or PEMA, also will receive a $30,000 reimbursement.
"This is the start, not an end, to holding Norfolk Southern accountable," Shapiro tweeted.
The derailment occurred around 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 3. Though no injuries were reported, the wreck caused a spectacular blaze and, most worrisome, released toxic materials into the nearby soil and water. The train was carrying hazardous chemicals including vinyl chloride, a flammable gas linked to cancer and liver disease. Nearly 14 of the 50 cars that derailed had some of the chemical onboard, the AP reported.
Roughly 2,000 East Palestine residents were forced from their homes temporarily, but many reported headaches and nausea upon their return. Shapiro also urged 22 Beaver County residents within a mile of the wreck to evacuate immediately.
Governor DeWine and I are asking residents in the red area of this map — those within a one mile radius of East Palestine — to evacuate immediately. pic.twitter.com/r6V1OmazHm— Governor Josh Shapiro (@GovernorShapiro) February 6, 2023
Though Pennsylvania air and water quality testing have revealed no "concerning" readings, Shapiro's office said, the state health department opened a resource center in Darlington Township for residents of Beaver and Lawrence counties. It will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Friday to any locals with health concerns.
Acting Attorney General Michelle Henry is soliciting complaints from Pennsylvania residents via email at email@example.com, phone at (724) 858-4689 or online form.
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