Last Updated on December 5, 2023 at 4:24pm
With the most intensive remediation work complete, focus turns to long-term initiatives.
ATLANTA, December 5, 2023 – Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) announced Tuesday the next phase of community assistance in East Palestine and the surrounding areas in Ohio and Pennsylvania. In October, the company completed the most intensive site remediation work. That significant milestone resulted in the reopening of Taggart Street and was another step in keeping Norfolk Southern’s promise to make things right in the Village.
“We’re proud of the progress we’ve made toward fully remediating the site, and helping the community recover. But we know there is more work to do,” said Norfolk Southern President and CEO Alan Shaw. “We’ll continue keeping our promises and listening to the community. Together, we’re focused on economic development to help the East Palestine community thrive for the long term.”
To date, Norfolk Southern has committed more than $103 million to East Palestine and the surrounding areas in Ohio and Pennsylvania. This includes support for first responders and community programs. Key contributions include:
- $25 million to fund a regional safety training center for first responders, located in East Palestine
- $5 million to cover costs of Pennsylvania state agencies and local fire departments that responded to the derailment
- $3 million reimbursed and committed to the East Palestine Fire Department for equipment and vehicles
- $25 million for upgrades and renovations to East Palestine City Park
- $4.2 million to Pennsylvania communities to support local events and grants for nonprofits
- $1 million donation to the East Palestine School District for academics, interscholastic athletics, and long-term development
- $1 million for community priorities as determined by an East Palestine-based Norfolk Southern Community Liaison, informed by residents and business leaders
- $534,000 to fund a state-run Community Resiliency Center to address mental health issues
- $300,000 to support the East Palestine Community Foundation
Community Assistance going forward will include both new and existing initiatives. Together, these initiatives focus on long-term economic development support for the Village, as well as direct support for residents, including:
Economic Development and Resident Support
- $4.3 million commitment for the long-term protection of East Palestine drinking water
- An interim Home Value Assurance Program (VAP) to compensate any reduction in value of certain residential properties located in East Palestine, Ohio and some surrounding communities following the February derailment
- $500,000 for an economic development agency to work with East Palestine community leaders
- A kick-off Economic Development Roundtable, in partnership with the Ohio Economic Development Authority, held on Nov. 30
- Construction of Norfolk Southern’s permanent East Palestine field office
With major excavation and soil removal activities completed at the end of October 2023, temporary relocation assistance to residents who chose to relocate during soil excavation efforts will conclude February 9, 2024.
“The Family Assistance Center will be reaching out to those residents who temporarily relocated to ensure they know what benefits and support will remain in place, and the options that are available to them,” said Will Harden, Senior Director of Legal Claims at Norfolk Southern. “We’re directly helping those families with their plans to return home, understanding everyone’s situation is unique.”
Through November, there have been more than 11,540 family visits to the Family Assistance Center (FAC). Norfolk Southern has provided more than $20.7 million in direct financial assistance to families.
As a courtesy, temporarily relocated residents can access an indoor home cleaning program similar to the concluded U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program by calling or visiting the FAC. Homes that have already been cleaned by Norfolk Southern, or the US EPA, are ineligible for a second cleaning.
For more information about any of the support programs, residents may contact the FAC. The FAC is located at 191 E. Rebecca Street and is open to residents Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Wednesday from noon to 8 p.m. The FAC is closed Saturday and Sunday. Residents can also call the FAC at (800) 230-7049 during FAC operating hours. The FAC will close for Christmas and New Year’s beginning at 6:30 pm on Dec. 21, 2023, and will reopen at noon on Jan. 2, 2024.
About Norfolk Southern
Since 1827, Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) and its predecessor companies have safely moved the goods and materials that drive the U.S. economy. Today, it operates a customer-centric and operations-driven freight transportation network. Committed to furthering sustainability, Norfolk Southern helps its customers avoid approximately 15 million tons of yearly carbon emissions by shipping via rail. Its dedicated team members deliver more than 7 million carloads annually, from agriculture to consumer goods, and is the largest rail shipper of auto products and metals in North America. Norfolk Southern also has the most extensive intermodal network in the eastern U.S., serving a majority of the country’s population and manufacturing base, with connections to every major container port on the Atlantic coast as well as the Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes. Learn more by visiting www.NorfolkSouthern.com.
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