West News Wire: The Blackhawk School District in Pennsylvania has sued Norfolk Southern for a number of reasons, including carelessness in a train disaster that happened in East Palestine, Ohio, last month and the ensuing controlled release of dangerous substances.
The lawsuit, which was filed on Thursday, asserts that the rail cars’ contents were burned after they derailed and “caused the release of toxic, hazardous, and dangerous chemicals onto and into the ground, into the air, and into surface and subsurface waterways and groundwater.”
On February 3, a freight train operated by Norfolk Southern derailed in East Palestine. It was transporting potentially dangerous substances, including flammable liquids, combustible liquids, flammable gas, and toxic chemicals that later caught fire.
The tanker railcars were breached by explosives employed by Norfolk Southern, and the contents were then drained into the earth before burning them.
The Blackhawk School District alleges that the toxic fires and intentional release of dangerous and toxic chemicals contaminated its lands and buildings. The district alleges that “toxic fires and deadly plumes dumped a lethal cocktail on its buildings, property soil and water supplies where deposits of the toxic materials have been found,” the suit said.
According to a letter released by the Environmental Protection Agency, vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, ethylhexyl acrylate and ethylene glycol monobutyl ether were released during the incident and have been detected in samples from several creeks near the derailment site.
The district said it has lands and buildings are all within a 15-mile radius of East Palestine, according to the lawsuit.
The suit alleges that the train derailment occurred due to Norfolk Southern’s breach of its duty of care by negligent and reckless acts and omissions. The district alleges that Norfolk Southern’s breach of its duty of care caused medical and health issues for its students and staff; testing and monitoring the impact on its property and water sources; monetary expenses for cleanup of property and drinking water; and damage to the property.
The school district is asking for a trial by jury, compensatory and statutory damages, punitive damages, attorneys fees and relief including future medical monitoring, according to the suit.
On Feb. 13, Norfolk Southern said the company was committing $1 million to a community support fund as a “down payment” on its contribution to rebuilding the village.