Norfolk Southern announced Monday that it will compensate homeowners in East Palestine, Ohio, for property value reduction following the Feb. 3 train derailment.
Nearly 2,000 residents in East Palestine were ordered to evacuate the town before workers conducted a controlled burn on Feb. 6 that released hazardous chemicals into the air. Those within the “defined program area” who have sold their home since the derailment, have their home on the market or will put their home on the market will be eligible for the program, in which the company will pay the difference between the market value and the actual sale price, according to a company press release.
“This is another step in fulfilling our promise to East Palestine to make it right. Norfolk Southern is steadfast in keeping our commitments, including protecting the home values of the community,” Alan H. Shaw, president and CEO of Norfolk Southern, said in the press release. “This program aims to give homeowners the reassurance they need.”
Residents who have sold their homes since the derailment or who have since put their homes on the market will be able to file with Norfolk Southern to have an “independent appraiser” assess the original value of their homes, according to the company’s press release. Zillow currently reports that home values have gone up by 3.2% over the past year, but residents claimed in April that they have only been able to sell their homes for a fraction of the market value cost, CNN reported.
East Palestine residents expressed frustration earlier this month after President Joe Biden announced he was too busy to visit approximately seven months after the disaster hit.
“We are here. We are still sick. We do have unmet needs,” resident Jamie Wallace told “Fox and Friends” on Sept. 4. “We need to have representation at this hearing that’s coming up in East Palestine when our politicians they come in they meet with very cherry-picked groupings of the community and it’s not representative of most of us that are still suffering, still in hotels, still relocated.”
Norfolk Southern reported that it has spent just under $75 million on community support, including $25 million to upgrade East Palestine City Park and $4.3 million to protect drinking water in the area, according to its website. The company established scholarships for students and bought air purifiers for members of the community, among other restoration efforts in East Palestine.
Norfolk Southern did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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