Norfolk Southern pays Clark County costs, damages for derailment

The full payments came after Sen. Brown set the company a letter claiming a lack of communication about reimbursement.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Norfolk Southern has paid Clark County more than $100,000 in expenses related to one of the company’s trains derailing in March in Springfield Twp.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sent a letter to Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw last week demanding the company make payments to Clark County, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, the Clark County Emergency Management Agency and several local agencies for the damages, repairs and costs of the services they provided.

On March 4 at around 4:45 p.m., 28 train cars containing non-hazardous materials of 212 train cars derailed in Springfield Twp., but there was no spill.

Brown had said getting the company to communicate about the payments owed had been difficult, though Norfolk Southern representative Connor Spielmaker said last week that communication had been effective.

Norfolk Southern owed the Clark County Sheriff’s Office more than $87,000 for overtime pay for its deputies who responded to the derailment and its aftermath, Sheriff Deb Burchett said last week.

“It is great news to hear that Sheriff Burchett’s office has finally been paid in full – but it is inexcusable that it took over five months for Norfolk Southern to reimburse the local agencies for the mess caused by Norfolk Southern’s negligence,” Brown said in a release. “I will continue to hold Norfolk Southern accountable and work to advance policies to help prevent further damage and potential injuries in the future.”

According to the release, the company also paid the Clark County Agricultural Society, which operates the Clark County Fairgrounds.

It owed the county EMA more than $12,000 and the county’s HAZMAT teams more than $15,500.

Springfield Twp. Trustee Tim Foley said last week Norfolk Southern paid the township the $32,380 it was owed.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Spielmaker said last week that the repayment process can take time with gathering the necessary paperwork, and Norfolk Southern began paying the agencies in full starting in July, and will continue “as final paperwork is received.”

“Local agencies are an integral response to derailments, and Norfolk Southern aims to reimburse those agencies as quickly as possible,” Spielmaker said.

On March 4 at around 4:45 p.m., 28 train cars containing non-hazardous materials of 212 train cars derailed in Springfield Twp., but there was no spill.

The derailment occurred about a month after a Norfolk Southern train derailed in East Palestine, in which hundreds of thousands of hazardous waste spilled into the air and water.

This was the seventh Norfolk Southern train derailment in the state in a year, Brown wrote. It was the second in Clark County in less than a year, county EMA director Michelle Clements-Pitstick said last month.

“It is disappointing that Norfolk Southern declined to make good on their obligations to Clark County until political pressure was brought to bear by Sen. Sherrod Brown. Nevertheless, we appreciate the efforts of Sen. Brown and his team in getting this matter resolved quickly and fairly. Because of their efforts, the sheriff’s office has now been fully reimbursed by Norfolk Southern. Thank you, Sen. Brown,” Burchett said in the release.

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