Ohio derailment recovery costs set to reach $1 billion
The costs associated with the freight train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, in February are going through the roof. Norfolk Southern, the operating company involved in the accident, has already paid 803 million US dollars to rehabilitate the infrastructure, relieve the local community and cover lawsuit costs. However, those costs are set to increase even more and likely reach one billion US dollars.
In particular, Norfolk Southern, to which the derailed train belonged and which also manages the railway infrastructure in the area, has paid so far approximately 718 million US dollars to clean up the accident’s site and its surroundings. It must be noted that the accident posed an extreme hazard for the residents and the environment since it resulted in a derailment of wagons carrying dangerous goods like vinyl chloride. The cargo spillover and the fire resulting from it raised direct and long-term concerns for the residents and animals of the region. On top of the clean-up costs, Norfolk Southern has paid an additional 222 million US Dollars in legal fees, resulting from lawsuits after the accident and 63 million US dollars to assist the local community in recovering.
One billion not too far
An AP report claims, however, that the company will have to pay even more as compensation for the chaos the accident caused. Specifically, the costs so far do not include funds to compensate the East Palestine community for “long-term health effects, drop in home values or drinking water issues”. Those compensations are still negotiated and will be declared in the company’s expenses soon. Nevertheless, estimations speak of a non-negligible sum to be added to Norfolk Southern’s bills.
On the other hand, Norfolk Southern also runs its own lawsuits against other companies involved in the accident. Consequently, based on the outcome of these legal procedures and with some money from the insurance, the company could compensate for part of the overall costs, which will remain very high in any case.