Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine says a multimillion-dollar fund must be created to pay for the medical expenses of victims affected by the Norfolk Southern toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio — and the railroad must pay for it.
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“I think where it clearly goes … to reassure people that their concerns about the long term will actually be taken into account — a year from now, five years from now, ten years from now — we’re going to have to end up with a fund and the railroad will he has to create that fund in cooperation with officials,” the Republican told “FOX & Friends” on Thursday. “Ultimately, this will be overseen by a court.”
DeWine noted that Norfolk Southern has already been hit with several class-action lawsuits from residents of the area where last month’s derailment occurred near the Pennsylvania border, and said the railroad will eventually end up in federal court over the disaster.
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The derailment of a 50-car train, 10 of which were carrying vinyl chloride, spilled dangerous chemicals into the ground and sent a plume of smoke into the air.
After the chemical spill, residents living within a mile radius were evacuated and many reported health symptoms such as sore throats, headaches and other respiratory problems. Workers cleaning the site also reported falling ill.
DeWine said he didn’t think Norfolk Southern was “as cooperative as it could have been” in the first day or two after the Feb. 3 incident, but he credited the company with paying “every bill that we submitted to them or that, as far as we know, it had been submitted.”
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The governor stressed that the fund to cover the health care costs of people affected by the derailment will be “significant … in the millions of dollars” and that Norfolk Southern will be forced to create it if the company does not do so voluntarily.
“If you look at what’s happened in other rail and other major environmental disasters, some much, much bigger than this, it always goes into a fund,” the governor told FOX. “And that’s how you protect people.”
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Norfolk Southern did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.