WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator JD Vance (R-OH) issued the following statement regarding Norfolk Southern’s property value reimbursement program:
“In the run up to the markup of the Railway Safety Act, Norfolk Southern and its backers in Congress announced that they had reached an agreement to establish a fund making East Palestine residents whole for the diminution of their property value,” said Senator Vance. “This announcement was a transparent attempt to distract from the fact that they were opposed to railroad safety reform to prevent another East Palestine disaster. I did not join this effort because I did not trust the railroad to make good on its word.
“This turned out to be the correct decision. The program has thus far been a complete and total disaster. Since their announcement, reliable information has been difficult to impossible for homeowners to secure. My office has been inundated with complaints from residents that Norfolk Southern has failed to answer their very reasonable questions and that their property value has fallen significantly since the railroad set off a chemical bomb in the heart of their town.
“It is exactly as I had feared—that there would be generosity and openness in public and penny-pinching and evasion in private. Proponents of the program, having trumpeted their success in securing empty promises, have not been particularly interested in ensuring the fund worked to help East Palestine. My staff and other Ohio officials have worked together to pressure the railroad to make changes and I understand that Norfolk Southern intends to announce an expansion of the program later this week. My expectations that they will deliver on their promises are low.
“I will continue to hold the railroad and its backers in Congress accountable for the promises they made to Ohioans. I welcome feedback from my constituents about their experience with Norfolk Southern and its property value reimbursement program.”