Rail Fuel Surcharges, 13896-13897 [E6-3931]

Download as PDF 13896 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 52 / Friday, March 17, 2006 / Notices sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES 620, allows ultrasonic examination—in lieu of radiography—as an acceptable alternative non-destructive testing method. DTI proposes to use ultrasonic examination on its project. The ultrasonic examination consists of full semi-automated and manual examination using shear wave probes, and volumetric examination using a combination of creep wave probes and focused angled longitudinal wave probes. NFPA 59A Technical Committee recently approved and recommended the acceptance of the Tenth Edition, 2002 of API 620. PHMSA has not yet adopted the Tenth Edition, 2002 of API 620, and has not yet incorporated it by reference in Appendix A to Part 193; therefore, a waiver is required. DTI asserts that ultrasonic examination is more sensitive than radiographic examination to detect the type of flaws most susceptible in the design and construction of large welded low pressure storage tanks. DTI further asserts that any potentially detrimental weld defect in the container walls will be identifiable using the ultrasonic examination method. DTI concludes that the alternative method of inspection allowed by the current Tenth Edition, Addendum 1, of API 620, will not reduce the integrity of the installation, and will in fact enhance the quality of the inspection by using modern inspection technology while improving personnel safety and information sharing. For the reasons stated, DTI is requesting a waiver from 49 CFR 193.2301, and is asking that it be allowed to use the ultrasonic examination method according to the Tenth Edition, Addendum 1, of API 620, in lieu of the radiographic examination method as specified by the Eighth Edition of API 620. System Description DTI’s Cove Point LNG, liquid propane (LP) terminal is located on the Chesapeake Bay in Lusby, Maryland. DTI is engaged in an expansion project that will increase its plant daily output capacity from 1 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day to 1.8 Bcf per day. DTI has sought approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for this project; and if granted, DTI’s storage capacity at the terminal is expected to increase to approximately 14.5 Bcf. DTI’s Cove Point Expansion Project consists of two tanks each with a volume of approximately one million barrels. The outer wall of each container is constructed of carbon steel and the inner wall is constructed of 9% nickel steel. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:52 Mar 16, 2006 Jkt 208001 PHMSA will consider DTI’s waiver request and whether DTI’s proposal will yield an equivalent or greater degree of safety than that currently provided by the regulations. This Notice is PHMSA’s only request for public comment before making a decision. After considering any comments received, PHMSA will either grant DTI’s waiver request as proposed or with modifications and conditions or deny DTI’s request. If the waiver is granted and PHMSA subsequently determines that the effect of the waiver is inconsistent with pipeline safety, PHMSA may revoke the waiver at its sole discretion. Authority: 49 U.S.C. 60118(c) and 49 CFR 1.53. Issued in Washington, DC, on March 13, 2006. Joy Kadnar, Director of Engineering and Engineering Support. [FR Doc. E6–3853 Filed 3–16–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–60–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Surface Transportation Board [STB Ex Parte No. 661] Rail Fuel Surcharges AGENCY: Surface Transportation Board, DOT. ACTION: Notice of public hearing. SUMMARY: The Surface Transportation Board (Board) will hold a public hearing beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 11, 2006, at its offices in Washington, DC, to provide interested persons an opportunity to express their views on the subject of fuel surcharges collected by railroads. Persons wishing to speak at the hearing should notify the Board in writing. DATES: The public hearing will take place on May 11, 2006. Any person wishing to speak at the hearing should file with the Board a written notice of intent to participate, and should indicate a requested time allotment, as soon as possible but no later than April 20, 2006. Each speaker should also file with the Board his/her written testimony by April 27, 2006. Written submissions by interested persons who do not wish to appear at the hearing will also be due by April 27, 2006. ADDRESSES: All notices of intent to participate and testimony may be submitted either via the Board’s e-filing format or in the traditional paper format. Any person using e-filing should comply with instructions on the Board’s http://www.stb.dot.gov Web site, at the PO 00000 Frm 00091 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 ‘‘E-FILING’’ link. Any person submitting a filing in the traditional paper format should send an original and 10 copies of the filing (referring to STB Ex Parte No. 661) to: Surface Transportation Board, Attn: STB Ex Parte No. 661, 1925 K Street, NW., Washington, DC 20423– 0001. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: Joseph H. Dettmar, (202) 565–1609. [Assistance for the hearing impaired is available through the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at: (800) 877–8339.] SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Board will hold a public hearing to provide a forum for the expression of views by rail shippers, railroads, and other interested persons, on the manner in which fuel surcharges are calculated and charged by railroads. The cost of fuel is a significant component of the operating costs of providing rail service, and railroads can reasonably be expected to devise methods to collect increases in those costs from their shippers. However, the rail shipper community has voiced concerns that recent fuel surcharges collected by railroads are designed to recover amounts over and above increased fuel costs. A surcharge is a separately identified component of the total rate that is charged for the transportation involved. The Board’s authority to regulate the level of a railroad’s rates is limited. The Board only has jurisdiction over a railroad’s common carriage rates, not rates governed by a rail transportation contract negotiated by the shipper and railroad. 49 U.S.C. 10709. Even as to a railroad’s common carriage rates, the Board can review the level of the rate only if there is no effective competition from other rail carriers or modes of transportation for the transportation to which the rate applies. 49 U.S.C. 10707(a). Moreover, Congress has precluded the Board from regulating rates which produce revenues that are less than 180% of the carrier’s variable costs of providing the service involved. 49 U.S.C. 10707(d)(1)(A). Therefore, this hearing is not intended to address the level of surcharges. On the other hand, the Board has broad authority over the reasonableness of a railroad’s practices. 49 U.S.C. 10702(2). The Board cannot use its authority over the reasonableness of a carrier’s practices to regulate the level of a carrier’s rates. See Union Pacific R.R. v. ICC, 867 F.2d 646 (DC Cir. 1989). But, to the extent that shippers are complaining of the railroad practice of labeling a rate increase as a fuel surcharge when the increase is not directly and closely correlated to E:\FR\FM\17MRN1.SGM 17MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 52 / Friday, March 17, 2006 / Notices sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES increases in the cost of fuel for the particular movement to which the surcharge is applied, the Board arguably could consider that as a possible unreasonable practice.1 Thus, it is that aspect of the shippers’ concerns— whether railroad fuel surcharges are being set in such a manner as to insure that they are used only to recover the increased cost of fuel for the particular movements to which the surcharge is applied—that will be the subject of this hearing. Railroads are asked to present (individual not collective) testimony on how they set fuel surcharges, and whether their fuel surcharges fairly reflect the increasing fuel costs of the particular movements to which they are applied. We are holding this hearing based on the Board’s authority to inquire into the management of railroads and to obtain information that is needed to carry out the statute that the Board administers. 49 U.S.C. 721(b). To carry out its various statutory responsibilities, the Board requires railroads to collect and submit to the Board extensive cost and revenue information. 49 CFR parts 1200–1280. In this hearing, shippers and railroads are asked to comment on whether and how those reporting requirements should be adjusted to provide rail customers with better information on a carrier’s fuel costs and the revenues collected through fuel surcharges. Making this information publicly available should enable shippers to better identify and protect against inappropriate surcharges and to more reliably forecast their future transportation costs. Railroads have expressed concern that engaging in multi-carrier discussions regarding their fuel surcharge practices could expose them to potential liability under federal antitrust laws. This hearing will be structured to avoid such concerns. Railroads will be expected to submit separate, independent testimony at this hearing. They will not be asked to exchange information privately regarding their respective fuel surcharge practices or to agree upon a common method to calculate fuel surcharges. The agency is exercising its power to obtain from the regulated carriers information it needs to determine if a problem exists that requires agency action. 49 U.S.C. 721(b). Such a public conversation at the formal request of the agency should not implicate the federal antitrust laws. See Eastern R.R. Presidents Conference 1 If a complainant sought to challenge a particular fuel surcharge that applied to exempt classes of traffic, the complainant would have to seek revocation of the exemption (under 49 U.S.C. 10502(d)) to the extent necessary before the Board could take regulatory action with regard to that traffic. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:52 Mar 16, 2006 Jkt 208001 v. Noerr Motor Freight, Inc., 365 U.S. 127 (1961) (petitioning immunity); United Mine Workers v. Pennington, 381 U.S. 657 (1965) (Noerr immunity extends to petitioning government administrative agencies). Nor should any inference to the contrary be drawn merely from their participation at these hearings. Date of Hearing. The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. on May 11, 2006, in the 7th floor hearing room at the Board’s headquarters in Washington, DC, and will continue, with short breaks if necessary, until every person scheduled to speak has been heard. Board Releases and Live Audio Available Via the Internet. Decisions and notices of the Board, including this notice, are available on the Board’s Web site at http://www.stb.dot.gov. This hearing will be available on the Board’s website by live audio streaming. To access the hearing, click on the ‘‘Live Audio’’ link under ‘‘Information Center’’ at the left side of the home page beginning at 9 a.m. on May 11, 2006. This action will not significantly affect either the quality of the human environment or the conservation of energy resources. Dated: March 13, 2006. Vernon A. Williams, Secretary. [FR Doc. E6–3931 Filed 3–16–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4915–01–P 13897 Title: Form for OFAC License Application to Unblock Funds Transfers. Form TD-Form 90–22.54. Description: Assets blocked pursuant to sanctions administered by Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) may be released only through a specific license issued by OFCA. Since February 2000, use of this form to apply for the unblocking of funds transfers has been mandatory pursuant to 31 CFR 501.801(b)(2). Use of this form greatly facilitates and speeds applicants’ submission and OFAC’s processing. Respondents: Business or other forprofit and Not-for-profit institutions. Estimated Total Burden Hours: 1,500 hours. Clearance Officer: Stephanie Petersen, Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Annex-2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20220. (202) 622–2500. OMB Reviewer: Alexander T. Hunt, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10235, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503. (202) 395–7316. Michael A. Robinson, Treasury PRA Clearance Officer. [FR Doc. E6–3905 Filed 3–16–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810–25–P DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request March 13, 2006. Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request March 13, 2006. The Department of the Treasury has submitted the following public information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13. Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling the Treasury Bureau Clearance Officer listed. Comments regarding this information collection should be addressed to the OMB reviewer listed and to the Treasury Department Clearance Officer, Department of the Treasury, Room 11000, 1750 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20220. DATES: Written comments should be received on or before April 17, 2006 to be assured of consideration. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) OMB Number: 1505–0170. Type of Review: Extension. PO 00000 Frm 00092 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 The Department of the Treasury has submitted the following public information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13. Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling the Treasury Bureau Clearance Officer listed. Comments regarding this information collection should be addressed to the OMB reviewer listed and to the Treasury Department Clearance Officer, Department of the Treasury, Room 11000, 1750 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20220. DATES: Written comments should be received on or before April 17, 2006 to be assured of consideration. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) OMB Number: 1545–1530. Type of Review: Extension. Title: Tip Rate Determination Agreement (Gaming Industry); Gaming Industry Tip Compliance Agreement Program. E:\FR\FM\17MRN1.SGM 17MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 52 (Friday, March 17, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 13896-13897]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-3931]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Surface Transportation Board

[STB Ex Parte No. 661]


Rail Fuel Surcharges

AGENCY: Surface Transportation Board, DOT.

ACTION: Notice of public hearing.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Surface Transportation Board (Board) will hold a public 
hearing beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 11, 2006, at its offices 
in Washington, DC, to provide interested persons an opportunity to 
express their views on the subject of fuel surcharges collected by 
railroads. Persons wishing to speak at the hearing should notify the 
Board in writing.

DATES: The public hearing will take place on May 11, 2006. Any person 
wishing to speak at the hearing should file with the Board a written 
notice of intent to participate, and should indicate a requested time 
allotment, as soon as possible but no later than April 20, 2006. Each 
speaker should also file with the Board his/her written testimony by 
April 27, 2006. Written submissions by interested persons who do not 
wish to appear at the hearing will also be due by April 27, 2006.

ADDRESSES: All notices of intent to participate and testimony may be 
submitted either via the Board's e-filing format or in the traditional 
paper format. Any person using e-filing should comply with instructions 
on the Board's http://www.stb.dot.gov Web site, at the ``E-FILING'' 
link. Any person submitting a filing in the traditional paper format 
should send an original and 10 copies of the filing (referring to STB 
Ex Parte No. 661) to: Surface Transportation Board, Attn: STB Ex Parte 
No. 661, 1925 K Street, NW., Washington, DC 20423-0001.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: Joseph H. Dettmar, (202) 565-1609. 
[Assistance for the hearing impaired is available through the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at: (800) 877-8339.]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Board will hold a public hearing to 
provide a forum for the expression of views by rail shippers, 
railroads, and other interested persons, on the manner in which fuel 
surcharges are calculated and charged by railroads. The cost of fuel is 
a significant component of the operating costs of providing rail 
service, and railroads can reasonably be expected to devise methods to 
collect increases in those costs from their shippers. However, the rail 
shipper community has voiced concerns that recent fuel surcharges 
collected by railroads are designed to recover amounts over and above 
increased fuel costs.
    A surcharge is a separately identified component of the total rate 
that is charged for the transportation involved. The Board's authority 
to regulate the level of a railroad's rates is limited. The Board only 
has jurisdiction over a railroad's common carriage rates, not rates 
governed by a rail transportation contract negotiated by the shipper 
and railroad. 49 U.S.C. 10709. Even as to a railroad's common carriage 
rates, the Board can review the level of the rate only if there is no 
effective competition from other rail carriers or modes of 
transportation for the transportation to which the rate applies. 49 
U.S.C. 10707(a). Moreover, Congress has precluded the Board from 
regulating rates which produce revenues that are less than 180% of the 
carrier's variable costs of providing the service involved. 49 U.S.C. 
10707(d)(1)(A). Therefore, this hearing is not intended to address the 
level of surcharges.
    On the other hand, the Board has broad authority over the 
reasonableness of a railroad's practices. 49 U.S.C. 10702(2). The Board 
cannot use its authority over the reasonableness of a carrier's 
practices to regulate the level of a carrier's rates. See Union Pacific 
R.R. v. ICC, 867 F.2d 646 (DC Cir. 1989). But, to the extent that 
shippers are complaining of the railroad practice of labeling a rate 
increase as a fuel surcharge when the increase is not directly and 
closely correlated to

[[Page 13897]]

increases in the cost of fuel for the particular movement to which the 
surcharge is applied, the Board arguably could consider that as a 
possible unreasonable practice.\1\ Thus, it is that aspect of the 
shippers' concerns--whether railroad fuel surcharges are being set in 
such a manner as to insure that they are used only to recover the 
increased cost of fuel for the particular movements to which the 
surcharge is applied--that will be the subject of this hearing. 
Railroads are asked to present (individual not collective) testimony on 
how they set fuel surcharges, and whether their fuel surcharges fairly 
reflect the increasing fuel costs of the particular movements to which 
they are applied.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ If a complainant sought to challenge a particular fuel 
surcharge that applied to exempt classes of traffic, the complainant 
would have to seek revocation of the exemption (under 49 U.S.C. 
10502(d)) to the extent necessary before the Board could take 
regulatory action with regard to that traffic.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We are holding this hearing based on the Board's authority to 
inquire into the management of railroads and to obtain information that 
is needed to carry out the statute that the Board administers. 49 
U.S.C. 721(b). To carry out its various statutory responsibilities, the 
Board requires railroads to collect and submit to the Board extensive 
cost and revenue information. 49 CFR parts 1200-1280. In this hearing, 
shippers and railroads are asked to comment on whether and how those 
reporting requirements should be adjusted to provide rail customers 
with better information on a carrier's fuel costs and the revenues 
collected through fuel surcharges. Making this information publicly 
available should enable shippers to better identify and protect against 
inappropriate surcharges and to more reliably forecast their future 
transportation costs.
    Railroads have expressed concern that engaging in multi-carrier 
discussions regarding their fuel surcharge practices could expose them 
to potential liability under federal antitrust laws. This hearing will 
be structured to avoid such concerns. Railroads will be expected to 
submit separate, independent testimony at this hearing. They will not 
be asked to exchange information privately regarding their respective 
fuel surcharge practices or to agree upon a common method to calculate 
fuel surcharges. The agency is exercising its power to obtain from the 
regulated carriers information it needs to determine if a problem 
exists that requires agency action. 49 U.S.C. 721(b). Such a public 
conversation at the formal request of the agency should not implicate 
the federal antitrust laws. See Eastern R.R. Presidents Conference v. 
Noerr Motor Freight, Inc., 365 U.S. 127 (1961) (petitioning immunity); 
United Mine Workers v. Pennington, 381 U.S. 657 (1965) (Noerr immunity 
extends to petitioning government administrative agencies). Nor should 
any inference to the contrary be drawn merely from their participation 
at these hearings.
    Date of Hearing. The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. on May 11, 2006, 
in the 7th floor hearing room at the Board's headquarters in 
Washington, DC, and will continue, with short breaks if necessary, 
until every person scheduled to speak has been heard.
    Board Releases and Live Audio Available Via the Internet. Decisions 
and notices of the Board, including this notice, are available on the 
Board's Web site at http://www.stb.dot.gov. This hearing will be 
available on the Board's website by live audio streaming. To access the 
hearing, click on the ``Live Audio'' link under ``Information Center'' 
at the left side of the home page beginning at 9 a.m. on May 11, 2006.
    This action will not significantly affect either the quality of the 
human environment or the conservation of energy resources.

    Dated: March 13, 2006.
Vernon A. Williams,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. E6-3931 Filed 3-16-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4915-01-P