Following discussions to address the aftermath of the East Palestine train derailment, U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has announced that he has secured an agreement from Norfolk Southern to compensate homeowners near the derailment site for declines in their property values.
Norfolk Southern has committed to establish a fund that will make whole residents who sell their home for less than the pre-derailment appraised value of the property.
Upon securing this commitment, Sen. Cruz said: “Norfolk Southern has a long way to go to make things right for the people of East Palestine. This new fund is an important step in repairing the damage done to the community and making whole those homeowners whose property values have declined due to no fault of their own. While we all share the common goal of ensuring incidents like this do not happen again, it is my hope that this agreement will serve as a template for any future incidents where homeowners are unfairly harmed. My colleagues and I will be watching closely to ensure that Norfolk Southern makes good on this commitment to the people of East Palestine.”
In a letter detailing the new fund, Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw agreed to establish the fund now rather than waiting for the completion of ongoing litigation.
Shaw wrote: “As President and CEO of Norfolk Southern Corporation (Norfolk Southern), I write at the encouragement of Senator Cruz to reaffirm Norfolk Southern’s commitment to make it right for the people of East Palestine, including by establishing a fund to compensate homeowners in the area for property value diminution[…]
“Norfolk Southern has not waited for the judicial process to be completed prior to getting to work on the structure and shape of a real property fund that will compensate homeowners. . . . Initially, we expect eligible homeowners for this compensation to include those with homes within an approximately 5-mile radius of the derailment, and who sell their homes for less than their property’s pre-February 3 appraised value[…]
“Moreover, prior to establishing the real property fund pursuant to the ongoing litigation, Norfolk Southern commits to compensate homeowners who sell their homes for less than their property’s pre-February 3 appraised value[…]
Read the full letter at the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation