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Senator Vance and Attorney General Yost React to East Palestine Train Derailment Federal Settlement


(WASHINGTON, D.C. & COLUMBUS, Ohio ) — Senator JD Vance and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost issued the following joint statement to express their concern that the U.S. Department of Justice’s recently announced settlement with Norfolk Southern could severely undercompensate the people of East Palestine. The DOJ’s announcement comes before the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was allowed to complete its investigation into the circumstances leading up to the derailment and the decision-making process which resulted in the “vent and burn” of derailed tanker cars.

“This federal settlement, reached prior to the completion of the NTSB’s investigation, risks undercompensating the residents of East Palestine,” said Senator Vance and Attorney General Yost. “The Department of Justice would have better served East Palestine and surrounding communities by negotiating against Norfolk Southern armed with all relevant facts surrounding the disaster—facts which can only be revealed by the NTSB. The residents of East Palestine deserve full compensation to account for the hardships they have faced in the months since the derailment, but they also deserve the full truth about why the derailment and vent and burn occurred. With its decision to reach a settlement now, the DOJ may have sacrificed its opportunity to use the NTSB’s findings to impose maximum leverage on those responsible for any potential wrongdoing. We are reviewing the now-public settlement proposal, but with so much unknown at this time, it is difficult to assess its impact. We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure those impacted by the derailment are made whole and to ensure anyone responsible for wrongdoing is held accountable.”

The Department of Justice has closely guarded the details of this settlement and did not make co-plaintiffs, including the State of Ohio, aware of crucial details before its public release today. This problem deserves more time and consideration as Ohio was only presented with this agreement today. Ohio, the state which bore the brunt of the damage caused by this derailment, should have been consulted on the details of the resulting settlement. It is not known why the DOJ failed to follow standard practice to do so.

Bethany McCorkle: 614-466-1339


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