COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost proposed an agreement with Norfolk Southern to hire Ohio companies and Ohio workers for work related to the Feb. 3 derailment in East Palestine.
Yost announced Norfolk Southern’s commitment to the agreement at a press conference Wednesday.
“We didn’t ask for this accident to happen here in Ohio or in East Palestine, and we would be quite happy not to have to deal with it,” Yost said. “But since this accident did happen, I’m pleased that Norfolk Southern has signed off on the agreement and that Ohio businesses are going to benefit.”
Yost was joined by Guy Coviello, president and CEO of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce. Coviello’s Chamber of Commerce will serve as the main resource for Norfolk Southern to find materials and services related to cleanup efforts.
Coviello, during the press conference, praised Yost’s efforts throughout the situation.
“Attorney General Dave Yost has been on top of the East Palestine situation from the moment it happened,” Coviello said. “Ours is the third-largest chamber of commerce in Ohio with 3,000 members, so the ‘business first’ focus that he is placing on this – as well as the safety of the people of East Palestine – is very gratifying to us.”
The money spent on cleanup, multiple million dollars worth according to Norfolk Southern, is mandated by a federal administrative order, Yost said. He said he wants that money to benefit Ohio businesses and workers.
“Norfolk Southern will be in East Palestine as long as it takes to help the community recover and thrive,” said Norfolk Southern President and CEO Alan Shaw. “As we make progress every day, we are continuing our efforts to hire Ohio companies and Ohio workers to perform future work in the East Palestine area. We look forward to supporting local businesses.”
The state filed a lawsuit earlier this month against Norfolk Southern. Yost’s office says this agreement will have no effect on that lawsuit