Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has sued Norfolk Southern over the February 3 train derailment that spilled toxic chemicals into the local environment and forced a massive clean-up. File Photo courtesy of Ohio National Guard/Twitter
March 14 (UPI) -- Ohio's attorney general filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Norfolk Southern over the February 3 train derailment that released toxic chemicals in East Palestine.
Attorney General Dave Yost announced that he had submitted a 53-count complaint to the District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in an online press conference Tuesday.
"This derailment was entirely avoidable," Yost said of the event that released ethylene glycol, vinyl chloride, and butyl acrylate, into the local environment, killing fish in the Ohio River.
"The fallout from this highly preventable accident is goin to reverberate though Ohio and Ohioans for many years to come," he said.
Yost drew attention to an 80% increase in accidents related to Norfolk Southern in the past decade. The complaint also raises the issue of Norfolk Southern's recent safety record.
"The derailment was just one in a long string of Norfolk Southern train derailments, hazmat incidents/community evacuations, and relates of hazardous materials, hazardous substances, hazardous wastes, and/or other harmful pollutants into the environment," the complaint reads.
The complaint is intended to instigate a "declaratory judgement" that Norfolk Southern is financially responsible for the emergency response to the derailment and that the company is responsible for covering the costs of environmental and property damage.
Norfolk Southern said they would cooperate with the Attorney General and are working to clean up the site of the derailment.
"Every day since the derailment, our goal has been to make it right for the people of East Palestine and the surrounding communities. We are making progress every day cleaning the site safely and thoroughly," Norfolk Southern said in a statement Tuesday.
"We look forward to working towards a final resolution with Attorney General Yost and others as we coordinate with his office, community leaders, and other stakeholders to finalize the details of these programs," the company said.