EPA orders Norfolk Southern to clean up toxic spill at East Palestine

The federal agency will manage the reponse efforts and provide cleaning services to the affected buildings.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Tuesday that it will take over cleanup efforts in East Palestine (Ohio) following the February 3 derailment. The federal agency reported that it "will approve a work plan outlining all steps necessary to clean up the environmental damage caused by the derailment."

In a statement, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said that Norfolk Southern will be responsible for cleaning up the land and the toxic spill as the operator of the derailed train:

The Norfolk Southern train derailment has upended the lives of East Palestine families, and EPA’s order will ensure the company is held accountable for jeopardizing the health and safety of this community. Norfolk Southern will pay for cleaning up the mess they created and for the trauma they’ve inflicted on this community.

In addition, Regan noted that the EPA "will offer cleaning services to area businesses and families." The agency assured that it will continue to collaborate with the rest of the state and local entities to repair the damage caused by the derailment:

I’m deeply grateful to the emergency responders, including EPA personnel, who’ve been on the ground since day one and ensured there was no loss of life as a result of this disaster. As we transition from emergency response, EPA will continue to coordinate closely with our local, state, and federal partners through a whole-of-government approach to support the East Palestine community during the remediation phase. To the people of East Palestine, EPA stands with you now and for as long as it may take.