Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has made it clear that he won’t be swayed by corporate interests. He recently filed a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern Corporation in response to the toxic train derailment that occurred in East Palestine in February. In the lawsuit, unspecified damages are sought for lost taxes, economic losses, and civil penalties.
After 1.1 million gallons of water and 15,000 pounds of soil were contaminated by the Feb. 3 accident, Yost said Ohioans and the state’s natural resources were “recklessly” endangered.
The environmental fallout caused mass evacuations in the small Pennsylvania community.
On Capitol Hill last week, Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw apologized for the disaster and said, “I am determined to make this right.”
Yost says his lawsuit “will make sure that Norfolk Southern keeps its word.”
In addition, the Attorney General wants a judge to order the company to conduct future soil and groundwater monitoring for the crash site and then submit a closure plan to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
Yost’s decision is one more significant step towards achieving justice for people affected by this accident – but also serves as an example for other industries who may be liable for similar disasters in the future. His action shows us all what happens when accountability is taken seriously; corporations can no longer hide from their responsibilities and must pay for any damage done through negligence or recklessness. Ultimately, we must thank Dave Yost for his tenacity in bringing justice to those impacted by this terrible accident – and we can only hope other regulatory agencies will follow his example and take similar steps towards protecting citizens from irresponsible behavior by powerful companies in future situations.