PENNSYLVANIA — Governor Josh Shapiro announced that he has secured an initial commitment from Norfolk Southern to pay millions for damages to Pennsylvania and its residents resulting from their February 3 train derailment that impacted residents in Beaver and Lawrence counties. This funding commitment is a starting point, and Governor Shapiro will continue pushing Norfolk Southern for further accountability and to cover additional costs that may accrue.
In a direct meeting, Governor Shapiro demanded Norfolk Southern cover the entirety of the costs incurred by Commonwealth agencies and local fire departments that responded to the derailment, as well as set up a $1 million community relief fund for businesses and residents in Beaver and Lawrence counties who lost revenue as a result of the incident. This is a start, not an end, to Governor Shapiro holding Norfolk Southern accountable for the damage it has caused to the Commonwealth. At the Governor’s request, Norfolk Southern agreed to pay the Commonwealth to recoup losses due to its train derailment and cover costs that may accrue over time with continued testing and monitoring.
In the wake of the February 3 derailment, Governor Shapiro vowed to the people of Pennsylvania that he will hold Norfolk Southern accountable for any and all impacts to our Commonwealth. Today, he is delivering on that promise.
“Norfolk Southern’s train derailment has hurt communities in Western Pennsylvania, and to make matters worse, the company’s disregard for crisis management best practices injected unnecessary risk into the situation and created confusion for residents and first responders,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “Norfolk Southern must do better – and the entire cost of this derailment and its impact on the Commonwealth must be picked up by them, not the people of Pennsylvania. My Administration is doing whatever it takes to help Pennsylvanians impacted by this incident, and I will continue to hold Norfolk Southern accountable for their actions.”
As a result of Governor Shapiro’s work, Norfolk Southern has agreed to pay:
- $5,000,000 to reimburse local fire departments in Western Pennsylvania that need to replace contaminated or damaged equipment that was used in responding to the derailment.
- $1,000,000 for a Community Relief Fund to be run by Beaver and Lawrence County officials to support business owners and residents impacted by the derailment.
- $950,000 to cover the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) work in Western Pennsylvania.
- $400,000 for the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s (DOH) services, including:
- Costs associated with the Health Resource Center (HRC) – which has already served more than 250 residents in since opening on February 28 – like rent, supplies, and staff time.
- Costs associated with DOH’s Poison Control Call Line, which has tracked every call related to train derailment.
- $30,000 to cover the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency’s (PEMA) staff time since the Commonwealth Response Coordination Center (CRCC) activation.
Norfolk Southern’s agreement to pay these costs is separate and apart from any otherwise applicable legal obligations that might be imposed.
Since the February 3 Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, the Shapiro Administration has led a coordinated response to keep Pennsylvanians safe and informed while working to hold Norfolk Southern accountable.
Governor Shapiro joined U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine in East Palestine on February 21 to provide an update on shared efforts to keep residents safe. Governor Shapiro also visited residents in Darlington Township, Beaver County who received water testing from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
Last week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced the opening of a Health Resource Center in Darlington Township, Beaver County for residents of Beaver and Lawrence counties who have health concerns; the center will be open 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM through Friday, March 10. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture are also on hand at the Center to help interested residents sign up for free, independent water testing and to provide guidance on food and animal safety, respectively. DEP is conducting independent water sampling to monitor water contamination risks. So far, DEP has successfully collected samples from nearly every private drinking water well within one mile of the Norfolk Southern derailment site and expects to receive results in the coming days.
Pennsylvania continues to assert that it sees no concerning air or water quality readings following this incident. Air and water monitoring have been in place since the incident began and no concerning readings have been detected thus far.
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