Governor Josh Shapiro announced on Monday that Norfolk Southern had contributed several million dollars to pay the cost of reaction and recovery in Pennsylvania following the disaster of a train carrying dangerous chemicals in Ohio last month.
According to Shapiro’s office, he met with Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw on Thursday and obtained a preliminary commitment for financial assistance while cleanup efforts for the incident on February 3 continue.
Norfolk Southern has made similar commitments to the state of Ohio, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the corporation to bear the costs of cleaning up the incident in East Palestine, Ohio, which caused the derailment of 38 rail cars.
Concerns that the chemicals could explode prompted state and municipal officials to authorize the release and burning of poisonous vinyl chloride from five tanker cars and the evacuation of half of East Palestine and the adjacent area near the Pennsylvania border. Shapiro stated that Norfolk Southern would pay $5 million to reimburse fire departments for contaminated or destroyed equipment and to Beaver and Lawrence counties to assist business owners and individuals whose livelihoods were affected.
Shapiro stated that roughly $1.4 million would be allocated to state agencies that reacted, including establishing a health clinic for residents.
According to Shapiro’s office, he will press Norfolk Southern to cover additional expenses.
In Ohio, Norfolk Southern had previously pledged more than $1 million to replace fire equipment used in the reaction to the flaming derailment, $1 million for East Palestine, and more than $1.2 million for the evacuation costs of almost 900 households and businesses.
The corporation has stated that it is “committed to supervising the cleanup project and paying its associated costs” and wants to ensure that the population and natural environment of East Palestine recover.
Federal and state officials have consistently stated that it is safe for evacuees to return to the area and that air testing in the town and inside hundreds of homes has not revealed any levels of toxins that are cause for worry. Nonetheless, several individuals report being still ill after over a month.