Ohio Attorney General still seeking answers one year after East Palestine derailment
It's nearly been one year since a fiery train derailment struck the village of East Palestine creating an impact that is still felt by residents of the village and its surrounding areas.
One year later, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost vowed to get answers for the state's lawsuit against Norfolk Southern in the absence of a full statement of facts from the primary investigating agency.
"This anniversary fuels so many emotions and it's understandable to want to bring this despairing chapter to a close, but rushing matters would be a disservice to the community, as we still need answers to so many questions. Those answers will help us ensure that tragedies like this don't happen again in Ohio or elsewhere," Yost said.
Yost went on to say there is talk about a settlement being worked out, but he cannot agree to a settlement without a detailed understanding of what happened, who is responsible and how to prevent other communities from being victim to a similar disaster.
"No responsible person should want a rush to judgment in the form of a settlement without having all the facts. It would be irresponsible," Yost said.
One month after the derailment, Yost filed a 58-count federal lawsuit seeking to hold Norfolk Southern financially responsible for the derailment and is anticipating findings from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in hopes that they answer critical questions.
These critical questions include:
- Details of the inspection, maintenance and use of the rail car on which the wheel bearing failed.
- What responsibilities the owners and shipper of the failed bearing car and the cars containing hazardous materials had to Norfolk Southern
- The criteria for the placement, inspection and type of wayside safety equipment and detectors
- If changes were made to the system to make it more efficient
- Whether or not Norfolk Southern's safety monitoring equipment was adequate
- Whether or not adjusted heat detection could have prevented the accident
- How the cars containing vinyl chloride were maintained and equipped with safety equipment
- Whether or not aluminum safety valves (rather than steel valves) had an affect
- What factors went into the vent and burn decision regarding the cars containing hazardous materials
Yost says the team representing Ohio in the litigation recently met with Norfolk Southern to learn more details of the incident. While the team notes that Norfolk was cooperative, many questions still remain.
"I am committed to getting the people of East Palestine the answers and appropriate compensation they deserve, however long that takes," Yost said.