The East Palestine, Ohio train derailment disaster has now become a catastrophe costing an astonishing $803 million. Rail company Norfolk Southern, responsible for the disaster, has doubled its initial estimate due to the massive environmental cleanup needed following the hazardous chemicals released when tankers carrying them derailed six months ago. With the cleanup still ongoing, things are not looking any better for the company, as both overall revenue and profits have dropped significantly.
— Daily Wire News (@DailyWireNews) July 27, 2023
Norfolk Southern’s profit has dropped by more than half in the most recent quarter compared to the previous year, and overall revenue has dropped 8% to $3 billion, according to the company. The company’s profit has dropped to $356 million ($1.56 per share) from $819 million ($3.45 per share) a year ago. The devastation does not just stop there as Norfolk Southern’s CEO, Alan Shaw, is “proud of the way our team rose to the challenge” and the company has committed to helping with clean-up efforts and improve the safety of the railroad. However, it is not just finances that the company has to worry about, it’s also the health of East Palestine’s residents.
The $803 million estimate does not include the potential for health-related issues. Norfolk Southern’s decision to burn several cars with dangerous chemicals, including vinyl chloride, to avoid them exploding, caused a toxic cloud of smoke that loomed over the town of 4,700 for days, potentially causing significant long-term health issues for residents. Trucks still continue to haul contaminated water and soil out of the town, and it seems that, after six months, the chemicals from the derailment are still present in a nearby creek, according to The Wall Street Journal. One cannot help but wonder how long the residents of East Palestine will continue to suffer.
To add salt to an open wound, Governor Mike DeWine (R-OH) asked President Joe Biden to issue a major disaster declaration order, which would allow the town to receive federal aid in the clean-up, but it seems the Biden administration has not yet reached a decision. With the damage already done, it is about time the Biden administration took action.
In conclusion, this disaster will haunt Norfolk Southern for years to come. The cleanup will definitely burn a significant hole in the company’s pocket, with profits and overall revenue taking a massive hit. But, most importantly, it has the potential to affect the health of East Palestine’s residents for generations to come. It is time for Norfolk Southern and President Biden to take action and make things right for the people of East Palestine.