***Video above: Norfolk Southern settled safety violation claims months before East Palestine train derailment***
Under the executive order, FEMA must name a federal disaster recovery coordinator to oversee long-term recovery efforts in the area. They will also assess needs that aren’t being met by Norfolk Southern.
FEMA has to name the coordinator within five days.
The EPA will keep removing contaminated soil and wastewater from the derailment site and make sure any surface stream contamination is addressed, the executive order states.
Also, several agencies will provide President Biden with updated reports on the recovery process:
- EPA: Within 30 days, a report monitoring air, soil and water in the area. Crews will then provide updated reports every 60 days until the work is done.
- Health and Human Services: Within 60 days, a report summarizing public health testing results, as well as resources that the HHS and CDC have provided for health conditions tied to the derailment.
- Department of Transportation: Within 60 days, a report on how the department is responding to the derailment.
According to White House officials, the executive order was issued, “to ensure that Norfolk Southern continues to be held accountable for this disaster, to address any of the disaster’s long-term effects, and to ensure federal assistance is available to affected communities should needs develop that are not met by Norfolk Southern.”
“This is an overdue but welcomed step to support the people of East Palestine,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown in a statement. “There is still much more work to do to make this community whole and I will continue to push the administration to deliver for East Palestine and hold Norfolk Southern accountable.”
Brown and Sen. JD Vance introduced a railroad safety bill back in March, which is still awaiting a vote.
Earlier this week, Norfolk Southern laid out details on its plan to compensate East Palestine residents whose home values have dropped since the derailment.