Grassroots Nonprofit River Valley Organization Behind $600 Million Norfolk Southern Settlement in East Palestine Train Derailment Published on April 15, 2024

Image Credits: ABC News: Gene J. Puskar/AP, Files

Over a year after a train carrying hazardous materials derailed and triggered a massive toxic fire in East Palestine Ohio, the freight company, Norfolk Southern, has filed a $600 million dollar settlement to the East Palestine community, which has been dealing with the toxic fallout since the disaster in February of 2023.

The derailed freight train’s hazardous load included vinyl chloride; a chemical that, when combusted, produces harmful carcinogens. The derailment fire and following controlled detonation sent plumes of black smoke high into the air surrounding the local community, leaving residents to evacuate and risk the dangerous environmental aftereffects upon returning home.

In the wake of the derailment disaster, the PDF granted rapid response funds to River Valley Organizing- a grassroots organization urging East Palestine residents to speak up about their struggles dealing with the toxic fallout, amplifying their voices and stories to the local and national level. The settlement between the residents of East Palestine and Norfolk Southern is thanks in part to groups such as River Valley Organizing, as their community-based activism helped to amplify local voices and bring national attention to the disaster.

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