Ohio train derailment: Biden administration threatens penalties for Norfolk Southern

Train Derailment Air Quality Explainer
A man takes photos as a black plume rises over East Palestine, Ohio, as a result of a controlled detonation of a portion of the derailed Norfolk Southern train, Feb. 6, 2023. After toxic chemicals were released into the air from a wrecked train in Ohio, evacuated residents remain in the dark about what toxic substances are lingering in their vacated neighborhoods while they await approval to return home. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Ohio train derailment: Biden administration threatens penalties for Norfolk Southern

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The Biden administration might issue serious consequences to railroad company Norfolk Southern if it does not keep its word and clean up the toxic mess caused by a recent train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

The threat came during a call on Friday in which Biden administration officials highlighted the work that several agencies, including the Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, among others, are doing in East Palestine. While Norfolk Southern has already said it will cover whatever costs are acquired in the cleanup of the derailment, the new warning from the Biden administration warns it will charge the railroad triple the cleanup costs if the administration is forced to clean up the mess, according to Politico.


The administration’s warning comes after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said on Wednesday that Norfolk Southern is responsible for the “very serious train wreck” and that Ohio would “hold their feet to the fire” to ensure the corporation would “pay for everything as we move forward.”

Officials on the call also defended the administration’s response to the train derailment, including the response by Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who has been greatly criticized for his handling of the disaster. Officials said that an evacuation order had been put in place early on and added that visits by high-ranking officials, such as politicians, can distract crews who are cleaning up the toxic mess.

Many Republicans, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and former Vice President Mike Pence (R), have criticized Buttigieg’s response to the Ohio train derailment, with the former demanding President Joe Biden to ask for Buttigieg’s resignation. A letter addressed to the president described the derailment as the latest example of Buttigieg’s “gross level of incompetence and apathy” over the last two years.

“It is painfully clear to the American people that Secretary Buttigieg has little regard for the duties of the Secretary of Transportation,” Rubio wrote in his letter.


The White House currently does not have any plans for Biden to visit East Palestine in response to the train derailment. On Friday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre noted that Biden’s immediate schedule is currently packed with a trip to Poland to mark the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Former President Donald Trump plans to visit with members of the East Palestine community, a source close to the former president told Fox News Digital.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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