Norfolk Southern donates $1.1 million to East Palestine as locals flip to GoFundMe


Norfolk Southern has made one other $1.1 million in money donations to East Palestine, Ohio because the neighborhood recovers from the practice derailment that sparked a fireplace and despatched hazardous chemical compounds into the air and water.

The railroad firm mentioned it donated $300,000 to the East Palestine Metropolis Faculty District and $825,000 to the East Palestine fireplace division.

“Right now’s donations to East Palestine elementary, center, and excessive colleges and to the Village of East Palestine Fireplace Division deliver the corporate’s monetary dedication to East Palestine to almost $8 million, with extra to return,” the corporate mentioned in an announcement.

The donation to the varsity district will assist cowl income that the district and neighboring companies misplaced when athletic occasions had been canceled following the Feb. 3 derailment, which compelled residents to flee their properties.

Athletic groups from neighboring cities forfeited video games scheduled to be hosted by East Palestine, in accordance with the Norfolk Southern
assertion. East Palestine is a city of about 5,000 folks close to the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. 

The $825,000 for the hearth division will reimburse the company for gear utilized in responding to the derailment. The college district and the hearth division didn’t reply instantly to requests for remark.

Some East Palestine locals have turned to GoFundMe for assist. One man who says he’s the daddy of an East Palestine Excessive Faculty senior is attempting to lift $15,000 partially to make up losses from school-related fundraising occasions that had been canceled after the derailment. Usually these fundraisers would have helped pay for pupil actions like end-of-season banquets and promenade, in accordance with the GoFundMe web page.

“I’m asking on your donations at the moment to offer these children hope and to proceed ‘being children’ and to benefit from the occasions that different lessons and groups have executed prior to now,” the web page states.

Norfolk Southern’s newest donations come because the Nationwide Transportation Security Board launched a preliminary report that mentioned there was no indication the practice’s operators did something flawed within the lead-up to the derailment, the Related Press reported. 

East Palestine hosted visits from former president and 2024 presidential candidate Donald Trump and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg this week. Trump slammed the Biden administration’s response to the catastrophe, and so has East Palestine mayor Trent Conaway.

NTSB chair Jennifer Homendy criticized the political disputes concerning the catastrophe, the Related Press reported. “Sufficient with the politics. I don’t perceive why this has gotten so political,” Homendy mentioned at a briefing in Washington, D.C. “It is a neighborhood that’s struggling. This isn’t about politics. That is about addressing their wants, their issues.”

Homendy mentioned her company had talked to residents who’ve suffered detrimental well being results, had pets who’ve died, and have seen their properties and companies broken.

Along with the $1,125,000 in donations introduced this week, Norfolk Southern has distributed greater than $4.9 million in direct funds to greater than 3,000 native households, and arrange a $1 million neighborhood help fund. The corporate has additionally appointed a “neighborhood liaison” — a Norfolk Southern worker who will probably be stationed in East Palestine for the subsequent yr and can oversee a price range of $1 million for neighborhood wants and enhancements.

Some observers have criticized the dimensions of Norfolk Southern’s monetary response to the catastrophe. The corporate spent $4 billion on inventory buybacks final yr. 
Norfolk Southern shed about $6.68 billion in market capitalization between the Feb. 3 practice derailment and Feb. 23, with its inventory dropping 11.2% in that interval, whereas the S&P 500
slipped 3.0% over the identical time.

Tomi Kilgore contributed to this story.


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