Risk Intelligence Themes: Train Derailments in the US, Alaska Drilling Project Approval, and Sony's PlayStation Antitrust Lawsuit Revived.

Highlighting some of the trending risk intelligence themes that Auquan customers are tracking this week.

Recent Train Derailments in the United States

Several train derailments  have occurred in different regions of the United States that have caused environmental damage, safety concerns and led to lawsuits against Norfolk Southern, one of the companies involved in the incidents.

  • On February 4, 2023, a train derailment caused a massive fire in northeastern Ohio.
  • On February 16, 2023, a train carrying toxic materials derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, leading to a risk of cancer and other health problems for nearby residents.
  • Another derailment occurred on the same day in Van Buren Township, Michigan, but no injuries were reported.
  • A lawsuit has been filed against Norfolk Southern, the company involved in the East Palestine accident, for releasing 1.1 million pounds of vinyl chloride into the environment.
  • The incidents have prompted calls for better safety regulations for the transportation of hazardous materials by rail.
  • Affected companies: Norfolk Southern
  • Future dates to watch: No specific dates have been announced. However, future court decisions regarding the lawsuits against Norfolk Southern could have significant financial consequences for the company.
  • Highlighted Coverage: Ohio Derailment: Head of EPA Visits East Palestine, But Residents Still Frustrated (New York Times)
  • Highlighted Coverage: Ohio Derailment: Head of EPA Visits East Palestine, But Residents Still Frustrated (Reuters)

Biden Administration Approves Alaska Drilling Project Despite Opposition

The Biden administration has given approval to ConocoPhillips to develop its Willow oil drilling project in Alaska, albeit in a smaller version, despite concerns over its environmental impact and potential threat to wildlife and local communities.

  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a final record of decision to permit ConocoPhillips to develop a smaller version of its Willow oil drilling project in Alaska.
  • Environmentalists and indigenous groups expressed disappointment and plan to challenge the decision in court, citing the potential harm to wildlife, climate change, and the violation of indigenous rights.
  • The decision is seen as a test of the Biden administration's commitment to fighting climate change and promoting environmental justice.
  • ConocoPhillips has said it will create jobs and bring economic benefits to Alaska, while also committing to minimizing the project's environmental impact.
  • The company still faces a number of legal and regulatory hurdles before it can proceed with the project, including permits and lawsuits from environmental and indigenous groups.
  • Affected companies: ConocoPhillips
  • Future dates to watch: Lawsuits and legal challenges from environmental and indigenous groups
  • Highlighted Coverage: "Biden Faces Climate Litmus Test on ConocoPhillips’s Alaska Oil Project" - Bloomberg
  • Highlighted Coverage: "Alaska: US approves smaller version of Willow oil drilling project" - The Guardian

Sony's PlayStation Antitrust Lawsuit: Revived and Moves Forward

The antitrust lawsuit against Sony regarding the PlayStation Store monopoly has been revived and moved forward, after previously being thrown out by a court.

  • The lawsuit accuses Sony of requiring users to purchase games exclusively from the PlayStation Store and preventing them from buying elsewhere.
  • The court has ruled that the case can proceed, citing evidence that Sony's exclusive agreements with game publishers could violate antitrust laws.
  • If the case succeeds, it could have major financial implications for Sony, including possible fines and changes to their business practices.
  • The case is expected to continue through 2023 and could set an important precedent for the video game industry.
  • Affected Companies: Sony
  • Future Dates to Watch: The case is expected to continue through 2023.
  • Highlighted Coverage: Judge refuses to dismiss class action antitrust claims against Sony (Courthouse News Service)

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