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Norfolk Reverses on Settlement

Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) lost ground on the last day before Memorial Day, on word the carrier has agreed to pay $310 million to settle charges over a toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, in February 2023.

The majority of the settlement is an estimated $235 million to cover all past and future cleanup costs. Per the agreement, the company will also pay a $15 million civil penalty to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act.

The agreement resolves a lawsuit filed in March 2023 by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice against Norfolk Southern for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act after the derailment of a freight train carrying hazardous substances ignited a dayslong fire that forced local residents to evacuate and contaminated the soil and waterways.

“We are pleased we were able to reach a timely resolution of these investigations that recognizes our comprehensive response to the community’s needs and our mission to be the gold standard of safety in the rail industry,” CEO Alan Shaw said. We will continue keeping our promises and are invested in the community’s future for the long-haul.”

The settlement, if approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, would require Norfolk Southern to not only “take measures to improve rail safety” but also “pay for health monitoring and mental health services for the surrounding communities,” among other actions, the EPA said Thursday.

NSC shares dipped 52 cents to $225.78.