SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The EPA is ordering railroad company Norfolk Southern to pay for the clean up of the Ohio train derailment. This just the latest in a string of updates as we continue to follow the impacts of this derailment.

As class action lawsuits are brewing, Professor Julie Steiner at Western New England University is asking three questions: Why did this happen? Could this have been prevented? And what does this mean for the people around? All of which could be threads that lead to lawsuits.

As the EPA monitors the impacts of the chemical release, they have so far found no evidence that contaminants have impacted residents. Professor Steiner said it’s important to remember the federal organization bases its decisions on science, not anxiety.

“There’s this immediate impact which I do not want to minimize or sympathize with but the assessment of whether there’s a long term impact remains to be seen, but all indications are that it’s not going to be a long term disaster, which is a relief,” said Steiner.

As for what this derailment could mean for us locally, Steiner said now is a good opportunity for state organizations to take a look at their regulations and preparedness plans and evaluate if they are adequate to prevent or respond to a disaster like what happened in Ohio.