Your Voice Your Vote 2024

Live results
Last Updated: May 21, 11:58:13PM ET

Norfolk Southern commits $300K to East Palestine school district, reimburses fire department $825K

The company said the money is being given "without condition."

February 24, 2023, 1:56 PM

Norfolk Southern is touting additional donations to the community of East Palestine Friday, announcing $300,000 for the school district "without condition" three weeks after its train derailed in the community.

The company said it is also reimbursing the fire department roughly $825,000 for its equipment.

"Today's donations to East Palestine elementary, middle, and high schools and to the Village of East Palestine Fire Department bring the company's financial commitment to East Palestine to nearly $8 million, with more to come," Norfolk Southern said in a statement.

The money for the school district is to support "academics, athletics, extra-curricular activities, and its long-term contingency planning regarding the impacts of the derailment," according to the company.

Each of the district's three schools, East Palestine Elementary, East Palestine Middle, and East Palestine High schools, will receive $100,000, Norfolk Southern said, acknowledging some of the impacts of the derailment on athletic and extracurricular activities.

PHOTO: This photo taken with a drone shows portions of a Norfolk Southern freight train that derailed Friday night in East Palestine, Ohio are still on fire at mid-day Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023.
This photo taken with a drone shows portions of a Norfolk Southern freight train that derailed Friday night in East Palestine, Ohio are still on fire at mid-day Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023.
Gene J. Puskar/AP, FILE

Although officials declared the town safe to play sports, East Palestine high school girls' basketball opponent forfeited a sectional playoff game rather than play in East Palestine after some concerns about player safety.

"East Palestine schools have been cleared by local, state, and federal officials to safely host athletic and extra-curricular activities; however, schools outside the district have voluntarily forfeited games set to be held within the district," Nortfolk Southern's statement read. "These cancellations have caused a loss of revenue for East Palestine sports programs and neighboring businesses."

The company's CEO Alan Shaw renewed his commitment to help generate revenue for the town, which sits on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border.

"As soon as I heard that the East Palestine Bulldogs were not able to play in revenue-generating games, we took immediate action to help this community," Shaw said in a statement. "We continue to be committed to helping East Palestine residents get back on their feet. We are in this community for the long haul, and our goal is to see the community thrive again."

Norfolk Southern also says it is reimbursing the Village of East Palestine Fire Department approximately $825,000 for fire equipment used in the derailment response. The company noted this follows $220,000 reimbursement to fund new equipment for the first responders.

It comes just a week or so after Norfolk Southern gave all residents a $1,000 "inconvenience check" and committed $5.6 million to East Palestine.

Aside from the $1 million for a community liaison -- a one-year gig in which one of its local railroaders who lives in East Palestine will stay for ongoing recovery efforts -- there is $3.4 million in direct financial assistance to families; $1 million for a community assistance fund and $220,000 reimbursement to fund new equipment for first responders.

Additionally, on Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency said it intends to compel Norfolk Southern to pay for all cleaning if it fails to complete any actions the agency deems necessary.

PHOTO: A general view of the site of the derailment of a train carrying hazardous waste in East Palestine, Ohio, Feb. 23, 2023.
A general view of the site of the derailment of a train carrying hazardous waste in East Palestine, Ohio, Feb. 23, 2023.
Alan Freed/Reuters

Norfolk Southern will be required to continue cleaning up the contaminated soil and water and transport it safely; reimburse EPA for cleaning services; and attend public meetings at EPA's request and share information. If Norfolk Southern does not comply, it will be ordered to pay triple the cost.

"Let me also be crystal clear. Norfolk Southern will pay for cleaning up the mess that they created and the trauma that they inflicted on this community and impacted Beaver County residents," EPA Administrator Michael Regan said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon. "Today I'm announcing that EPA is ordering Norfolk Southern to conduct all necessary actions associated with the cleanup from the East Palestine train derailment."

ABC News' Alexandra Faul contributed to this report.

Related Topics