The department is seeking damages for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act, including “unlawfully polluting the nation’s waterways,” according to the 28-page complaint filed Thursday in an Ohio federal court. The government also wants to ensure the company “pays the full cost of the environmental cleanup,” DOJ said.
“As a result of this incident, hazardous materials vented into the air and spilled onto the ground,” the department said in the suit, which was filed on behalf of the US Environmental Protection Agency. “These substances contaminated local waterways and flowed miles downstream.”
The company is “working with urgency” at the direction of the EPA and “making daily progress” on remediation efforts and public assistance, spokesman Connor Spielmaker said in a statement.
“Our job right now is to make progress every day cleaning up the site, assisting residents whose lives were impacted by the derailment, and investing in the future of East Palestine and the surrounding areas,” Spielmaker said. “That remains our focus and we’ll keep working until we make it right.”
The company has set up a website to detail extensive environmental remediation efforts working in concert with state and federal authorities.
For example, more than 9.4 million gallons of impacted water have been recovered and transported off-site for disposal, along with nearly 13,000 tons of waste soil that has been removed for proper disposal, according to the company.
The company said its financial commitment to East Palestine and the surrounding region has surpassed $27.9 million.
The company also launched the NSMakingitRight.com website for the East Palestine community and public at-large to receive regular updates on environmental cleanup progress, family assistance services and answers to common questions and concerns.
Hazardous materials contained in train cars that derailed included vinyl chloride, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, ethylhexyl acrylate, butyl acrylate, isobutylene, and benzene residue, according to the US lawsuit.
“Exposure to these hazardous materials at sufficiently high levels has been associated variously with an increased risk of cancer; risks to fetal development; damage to organs like the liver, kidneys, lungs, and skin; and other health conditions,” the lawsuit said.
The company faces a growing list of civil lawsuits as a result of the crash, including residents and business in the area who claim the spill caused them physical and monetary harm. The state of Ohio also has
(Updates with company response starting in the fifth paragraph.)
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