Representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice are setting aside two days next week to answer the public’s questions about the proposed settlement of the EPA’s lawsuit holding Norfolk Southern Railroad accountable for the environmental and health impact caused by the February 3, 2023, fiery derailment and chemical spill in East Palestine.

The DOJ will be holding office hours at the EPA Welcome Center on July 15 and 16 to answer questions about the settlement. To make an appointment, please call 330-775-6517 or email [email protected].

The public comment period on the settlement is open until August 2.

Under the agreement, the railroad agrees to continue long term environmental monitoring for another ten years and spend another $6 million to improve and protect streams.

Norfolk Southern will put $25 million into a Community Health Fund to pay for medical monitoring and mental health services for up to 20 years.

A committee of community members will be organized to give advice and help coordinate the Community Health Program. Norfolk Southern will also pay for an independent advisor to help the community understand the different health studies and assist residents in accessing the Community Health Program benefits.

Norfolk Southern will pay a $15 million civil penalty for violating the Clean Water Act.

The railroad will be required to change how it operates to improve rail safety and reduce the chance of future derailments.

The US case does not include claims for violations of federal rail safety laws, because the DOJ says it does not appear that Norfolk Southern’s operation of the train broke rail safety rules in a way that contributed to the derailment, such as exceeding the speed limit, and failing to do proper inspections.

This case also doesn’t include claims specifically about the chemical vent & burn, because the facts did not support a Clean Air Act violation, according to the Department of Justice.

The federal case is separate from the $600 million class action settlement with Norfolk Southern. The EPA is not involved in that settlement.