Norfolk Southern to pay millions for derailment: governor

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Norfolk Southern has pledged several million dollars to cover the cost of the response and recovery in Pennsylvania after last month's derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals just across the border in Ohio, Gov. Josh Shapiro said Monday.

Shapiro's office said he met with Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw on Thursday and secured what they call an initial commitment for financial aid as the cleanup from the Feb. 3 derailment continues.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered Norfolk Southern to cover the costs of cleanup from the derailment that toppled 38 rail cars in East Palestine, Ohio. No one was hurt, but concerns over a explosion led state and local officials to approve releasing and burning toxic vinyl chloride from five tanker cars.

The resulting fire prompted the evacuation of half of East Palestine and the surrounding area near the Pennsylvania border.

Shapiro said Norfolk Southern will pay $5 million to reimburse fire departments for equipment that was contaminated or damaged in the response and $1 million to Beaver and Lawrence counties to help business owners and residents whose livelihoods were damaged.

Another nearly $1.4 million will go to state agencies that responded, including for setting up a health clinic for residents, Shapiro said.

Shapiro's office said he will push Norfolk Southern to cover any additional costs that accumulate.

Federal and state officials have repeatedly said it’s safe for evacuated residents to return to the area and that air testing in the town and inside hundreds of homes hasn’t detected any concerning levels of contaminants. However, some residents say they’re still suffering from illnesses nearly a month later.

Marc Levy, The Associated Press