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  • WKBN

    East Palestine residents hesitant to sign train derailment settlement

    By Shianna Gibbons,


    EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost visited the Village of East Palestine on Saturday, looking for concerns from residents so the state could join or create a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern.

    About 50 residents joined Yost inside of East Palestine’s auditorium. He gave them an update on the different lawsuits, and upcoming deadlines and reports.

    He’s looking for concerns that may have been overlooked or were not included in the federal or civil lawsuits against Norfolk Southern.

    “The investigators that haven’t put out the report for why this happened and I, for the life of me, don’t know why they negotiated a settlement before they have seen the NTSB report. I certainly wasn’t interested in doing that,” Yost said.

    One worry is the lack of a medical fund for future health concerns. Residents say they’re concerned about the long-term illnesses or health effects that may manifest after exposure to chemicals from the train derailment.

    “All these lawsuits are saying, ‘We’ll study you, we’ll follow you along’ but when they find the cancer, who takes care of that? And it’s not if, it’s when,” one resident said.

    Residents would also like more independent testing for chemicals in their water, creeks, soil, gardens and animals.

    Some are also calling for in-home testing.

    “This lawsuit does nothing to make sure our homes are safe,” another resident said. “It does nothing for car exposure, it does nothing for our long-term illnesses we’re going to come down with.”

    After receiving letters to submit their claim in the $600 million class action lawsuit, some are hesitant. By joining, residents waive their right to sue in the future and without a confirmed settlement amount, residents say they don’t have time to make a fair and informed decision.

    “We’re all going to sign off and set Norfolk free of any responsibility, but then all of these situations people have talked about are going to come up over the next few years and Norfolk’s not going to have any responsibility for that,” a resident said.

    The National Transportation Safety Board will approve its final report on the derailment on June 25.

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