U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday issued an executive order directing the appointment of a disaster recovery coordinator for the Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, but did not declare a major disaster. The White House said Wednesday the federal coordinator will be named within five days and will "conduct a comprehensive assessment of any unmet needs that are not addressed by Norfolk Southern and would qualify for federal assistance."
U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday issued an executive order the White House said aims to hold railroad operator Norfolk Southern accountable over a freight train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, earlier this year. The order is meant "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," the White House said in a statement.
Norfolk Southern said on Monday it launched an interim program to compensate homeowners around East Palestine, Ohio who have had to sell their properties at a reduced value following a Feb. 3 train derailment that spilled toxic chemicals. The program applies to parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania near the derailment site and applies to those with homes on the market, future listings or sold since Feb. 3. Senator Ted Cruz, the top Republican on the Senate committee that oversees railroads, said Norfolk Southern had made good on the promise it made in May, calling the fund "one of the most consequential actions taken to date for helping Ohioans and Pennsylvanians affected by the accident."