COLUMBUS, Ohio — Norfolk Southern has agreed to exclusively hire Ohio companies and workers to do all future repair and replacement work stemming from the Feb. 3 train derailment in East Palestine.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost made the announcement Wednesday.
“We didn’t ask for this accident to happen here in Ohio or in East Palestine, and we would be quite happy not to have to deal with it,” Yost said. “But since this accident did happen, I’m pleased that Norfolk Southern has signed off on the agreement and that Ohio businesses are going to benefit.”
This agreement with Norfolk Southern has no bearing on the lawsuit the state filed earlier this month, according to Yost. The millions being spent on cleanup by the company are mandated by a federal order.
“Norfolk Southern will be in East Palestine as long as it takes to help the community recover and thrive,” said Norfolk Southern President and CEO Alan Shaw. “As we make progress every day, we are continuing our efforts to hire Ohio companies and Ohio workers to perform future work in the East Palestine area. We look forward to supporting local businesses.”
No one was injured in the Feb. 3 train derailment in East Palestine, but concerns over a potential explosion led state and local officials to approve releasing and burning toxic vinyl chloride from five tanker cars that forced the evacuations of half the village and closed schools for a week.
Fifteen Ohio-based companies are already involved in the ongoing cleanup. Under the agreement announced by Yost, Norfolk Southern would be allowed to select an out-of-state vendor in the unlikely case that no Ohio companies have the expertise to complete specific work.