Massachusetts Coastal Railroad, LLC-Acquisition-CSXT Transportation, Inc., 68301-68305 [E9-30501]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 245 / Wednesday, December 23, 2009 / Notices request for a public use condition under 49 CFR 1152.28 or for trail use/rail banking under 49 CFR 1152.29 will be due no later than January 12, 2010.3 Each trail use request must be accompanied by a $250 filing fee. See 49 CFR 1002.2(f)(27). All filings in response to this notice must refer to STB Docket No. AB–295 (Sub-No. 7X), and must be sent to: (1) Surface Transportation Board, 395 E Street, SW., Washington, DC 20423– 0001, and (2) John Broadley, John H. Broadley & Associates, P.C., 1054 31st Street, NW., Suite 200, Washington, DC 20007. Replies to INRD’s petition are due on or before January 12, 2010. Persons seeking further information concerning abandonment procedures may contact the Board’s Office of Public Assistance, Governmental Affairs and Compliance at (202) 245–0238 or refer to the full abandonment or discontinuance regulations at 49 CFR part 1152. Questions concerning environmental issues may be directed to the Board’s Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) at (202) 245–0305. Assistance for the hearing impaired is available through the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1– 800–877–8339. An environmental assessment (EA) (or environmental impact statement (EIS), if necessary) prepared by SEA will be served upon all parties of record and upon any agencies or other persons who commented during its preparation. Other interested persons may contact SEA to obtain a copy of the EA (or EIS). EAs in these abandonment proceedings normally will be made available within 60 days of the filing of the petition. The deadline for submission of comments on the EA generally will be within 30 days of its service. Board decisions and notices are available on our Web site at ‘‘http:// www.stb.dot.gov.’’ Decided: December 18, 2009. By the Board, Rachel D. Campbell, Director, Office of Proceedings. Kulunie L. Cannon, Clearance Clerk. [FR Doc. E9–30473 Filed 12–22–09; 8:45 am] srobinson on DSKHWCL6B1PROD with NOTICES BILLING CODE 4915–01–P 3 INRD also petitions for exemption from any condition imposed under 49 U.S.C. 10905 that would prohibit or delay the recovery and reuse of the line’s rail, ties, and other track materials and ballast. The Board will address this request in the decision on the merits, if necessary. VerDate Nov<24>2008 19:26 Dec 22, 2009 Jkt 220001 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Surface Transportation Board [STB Finance Docket No. 35314] Massachusetts Coastal Railroad, LLC—Acquisition—CSXT Transportation, Inc. Surface Transportation Board. Decision No. 2 in STB Finance Docket No. 35314; Notice of Acceptance of Application; Issuance of Procedural Schedule. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: The Surface Transportation Board (Board) is accepting for consideration the application seeking Board approval of the acquisition by Massachusetts Coastal Railroad, LLC (Mass Coastal) of a permanent rail freight easement on about 33 miles of the rail lines of CSX Transportation, Inc. (CSXT) in Massachusetts. Collectively, Mass Coastal and CSXT will be referred to as ‘‘Applicants.’’ If the application is approved, Mass Coastal would replace CSXT as the only railroad providing freight service on these rail lines. In the proposed transaction (the Acquisition), which is governed by 49 U.S.C. 11323–26, Mass Coastal would acquire a rail freight easement in CSXT’s ‘‘South Coast Lines’’ consisting of: (1) The New Bedford Subdivision, which is 18.40 miles between milepost QN 13.40 at Cotley Junction and milepost QN 31.80 at New Bedford; (2) the Fall River Subdivision, which is 14.20 miles between milepost QNF 0.00 at Myricks and milepost QNF 14.20 at the Fall River, Massachusetts—Rhode Island state line; and (3) 0.08 miles of the North Dartmouth Industrial Track between milepost QND 0.00 and milepost QND 0.08, a total distance of approximately 32.68 miles. The Board finds that the Acquisition is a ‘‘minor transaction’’ under 49 CFR 1180.2(c) and adopts a procedural schedule for consideration of the application, providing for the Board’s final decision to be issued on March 29, 2010, and to become effective on April 28, 2010. In related matters, CSXT has agreed to sell the real estate, track, and materials in the South Coast Lines, among other property interests in other rail lines, to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and to retain a permanent freight easement over the South Coast Lines (the MassDOT Transaction). Consequently, MassDOT also filed on November 24, 2009, a notice of exemption under 49 CFR 1150.31 and a concurrent motion to dismiss the notice, in STB Finance Docket No. 35312, Massachusetts PO 00000 Frm 00078 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 68301 Department of Transportation— Acquisition Exemption—Certain Assets of CSX Transportation, Inc., which was served and published in the Federal Register (74 FR 65589) on December 10, 2009, to become effective December 24, 2009. If approved, the Acquisition would occur concurrently with the MassDOT Transaction. In a second transaction, CSXT has agreed to grant Mass Coastal certain overhead trackage rights 1 so that Mass Coastal can connect the South Coast Lines to its existing lines (the Trackage Rights Transaction). This agreement led to the concurrent filing of a notice of exemption under 49 C.F.R. 1180.2(d)(7) in STB Finance Docket No. 35314 (SubNo. 1X), Massachusetts Coastal Railroad, LLC—Trackage Rights Exemption—CSX Transportation, Inc., which also was served and published in the Federal Register (74 FR 65592–93) on December 10, 2009, to become effective December 24, 2009.2 DATES: The effective date of this decision is December 23, 2009. Any person who wishes to participate in this proceeding as a party of record (POR) must file a notice of intent to participate no later than January 6, 2010. All comments, protests, requests for conditions, and any other evidence and argument in opposition to the application, including filings by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), must be filed by January 25, 2010. Any responses to such filings and rebuttal in support of the application must be filed by February 12, 2010. If a public hearing or oral argument is held, it will be on a date to be determined by the Board. The Board expects to issue a final decision on March 29, 2010. For further information respecting dates, see Appendix A (Procedural Schedule). ADDRESSES: Any filing submitted in this proceeding must be submitted either via the Board’s e-filing format or in the traditional paper format. Any person using e-filing should attach a document and otherwise comply with the instructions found on the Board’s Web site at ‘‘www.stb.dot.gov’’ at the ‘‘EFILING’’ link. Any person submitting a 1 These trackage rights are on CSXT’s Middleboro Subdivision (1) between Mass Coastal’s interchange tracks at Taunton, MA, at approximately milepost QN 11.6, and milepost QN 13.4, a distance of approximately 1.8 miles; and (2) between milepost QNB 13.3 and Mass Coastal’s interchange tracks at Middleboro, MA, at approximately milepost QNB 20.4, a distance of about 7.1 miles, for a total distance of approximately 8.9 miles. 2 The related exemptions are permissive and do not require the parties to consummate those transactions. E:\FR\FM\23DEN1.SGM 23DEN1 srobinson on DSKHWCL6B1PROD with NOTICES 68302 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 245 / Wednesday, December 23, 2009 / Notices filing in the traditional paper format should send an original and 10 paper copies of the filing (and also an electronic version) to: Surface Transportation Board, 395 E Street, SW., Washington, DC 20423–0001. In addition, one copy of each filing in this proceeding must be sent (and may be sent by e-mail only if service by e-mail is acceptable to the recipient) to each of the following: (1) Secretary of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590; (2) Attorney General of the United States, c/ o Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, Room 3109, Department of Justice, Washington, DC 20530; (3) John H. Broadley (representing Mass Coastal), John H. Broadley & Associates, PC, 1054 Thirty-First Street, NW., Suite 200, Washington, DC 20007; and (4) any other person designated as a POR on the service-list notice (to be issued as soon after January 6, 2010, as practicable). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Julia M. Farr, (202) 245–0359. Assistance for the hearing impaired is available through the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Mass Coastal is a Class III rail carrier operating approximately 58.5 miles of freight lines at Taunton and between Middleboro and points on Cape Cod, all within Massachusetts. CSXT is a Class I rail carrier that owns and operates about 21,000 miles of railroad in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Mass Coastal and CSXT have entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement of Permanent Freight Easement (the Agreement), to be effective on May 14, 2010, by which Mass Coastal will purchase a permanent rail freight easement in the South Coast Lines. Through this sale, CSXT seeks to reduce its capital needs, rationalize its rail system, and restructure its business. In turn, Mass Coastal would replace CSXT as the carrier providing freight rail service to local customers on these lines. Applicants believe that Mass Coastal can provide more effective and personalized service to shippers on the South Coast Lines. In the related MassDOT Transaction, MassDOT proposes to acquire certain CSXT property in two stages. The first stage—proposed to close on May 14, VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:41 Dec 22, 2009 Jkt 220001 2010—pertains to this application. In this closing, MassDOT would acquire from CSXT the rail assets and real estate in the South Coast Lines, among other property interests in other rail lines, and CSXT would retain a permanent freight rail easement to serve shippers on all the acquired lines.3 CSXT has agreed, with the consent of MassDOT, to sell the permanent freight easement over the South Coast Lines to Mass Coastal. CSXT will continue to interchange with Mass Coastal at Middleboro pursuant to the Trackage Rights Transaction and will consolidate its Taunton interchange (at Cotley Junction) to include traffic for the South Coast Lines. Passenger Service Impacts. There is no passenger or commuter service over the South Coast Lines today. Applicants expect the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), in the future, to expand its commuter system to provide service on the South Coast Lines. Applicants state that after MassDOT acquires the track, materials, and real estate of the South Coast Lines pursuant to the MassDOT Transaction, MBTA would be able to upgrade the South Coast Lines to the condition necessary for commuter service. Discontinuances/Abandonments. Mass Coastal does not anticipate discontinuing service or abandoning any portion of the South Coast Lines. Financial Arrangements. According to Applicants, Mass Coastal does not plan to enter into any new financial arrangements for the Acquisition and will make any payments to CSXT from cash on hand. Mass Coastal does not expect any fixed charges as a result of the Acquisition. Time Schedule for Consummation. The Acquisition is scheduled to be consummated on May 14, 2010, concurrent with the transfer of the physical assets in the South Coast Lines to MassDOT and the reservation of a permanent freight easement by CSXT. Public Interest Considerations. Mass Coastal believes that the Acquisition will improve the adequacy of transportation to the shipping public because, as a short line, it expects to respond more quickly and devote more attention to the local and smaller shippers on the South Coast Lines than can a large rail carrier. Mass Coastal will continue to provide the same frequency of service on these lines as CSXT 3 In a letter dated December 16, 2009, submitted in the related MassDOT Transaction proceeding (STB Finance Docket No. 35312), counsel for MassDOT informed the Board that CSXT has sent to the shippers that CSXT serves on the lines whose assets MassDOT would acquire copies of the Notice of Exemption and Motion to Dismiss that had been filed in that proceeding on November 24, 2009. PO 00000 Frm 00079 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 currently provides 4 and will provide more frequent service if traffic growth justifies expanded service. As a result of the Acquisition, according to Applicants, there is not likely to be any lessening of competition, or creation of a monopoly or restraint of trade, in freight surface transportation in any region of the United States. Applicants state that the South Coast Lines are a self-contained, light density railroad line in southeastern Massachusetts currently rail-served only by CSXT and that there is truck and barge competition for the lines’ traffic today. Upon consummation of the Acquisition, Mass Coastal would replace CSXT as the sole rail operator of the South Coast Lines. There are no interchange commitments in the agreements between CSXT and Mass Coastal. If the application is approved, Mass Coastal would interchange traffic with CSXT at Cotley Junction (near Taunton) and at Middleboro and with the Bay Colony Railroad, at a point north of New Bedford.5 Environmental Impacts. Applicants state that no environmental documentation is required because there will be no operational changes that would exceed the thresholds established in 49 CFR 1105.7(e)(4) or (5) for requiring environmental review and there will be no action that would normally require environmental documentation. Applicants further indicate that an historic report is not required because they will operate the lines and would require further Board approval to discontinue or abandon any service. They state that there are no plans to dispose of or alter properties subject to Board jurisdiction that are 50 or more years old. Labor Impacts. CSXT anticipates that, as a result of the Acquisition and the related Trackage Rights Transaction, the 2 train crews who work out of Middleboro would experience somewhat reduced overtime opportunities. Mass Coastal expects to hire about 4 or 5 new employees to operate the South Coast Lines, including 1 locomotive engineer, 1 conductor, and 2 to 3 maintenance-of-way employees. Applicants acknowledge that the 4 CSXT currently provides service 3 days per week between Cotley Junction and New Bedford and 2 days per week between Cotley Junction and Fall River. 5 The Providence & Worcester Railroad Company (P&W) previously was granted trackage rights over the South Coast Line between Cotley Junction and the southern end at Fall River. P&W is not using the trackage rights because its connecting line at the southern end is out of service. Applicants state that, if P&W reopens its line, Mass Coastal will be required to allow P&W to use its trackage rights over the South Coast Line. E:\FR\FM\23DEN1.SGM 23DEN1 srobinson on DSKHWCL6B1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 245 / Wednesday, December 23, 2009 / Notices Acquisition would be subject to employee protective conditions in New York Dock Ry.—Control—Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal, 360 I.C.C. 60 (1979), as modified by Wilmington Term. RR, Inc.—Pur. & Lease—CSX Transp., Inc., 6 I.C.C.2d 799, 814–826 (1990), aff’d sub nom. Railway Labor Execs. Ass’n v. ICC, 930 F.2d 511 (6th Cir. 1991). Application Accepted. The Board finds that the Acquisition would be a ‘‘minor transaction’’ under 49 CFR 1180.2(c), and the Board accepts the application for consideration because it is in substantial compliance with the applicable regulations governing minor transactions. See 49 CFR part 1180; 49 U.S.C. 11321–26. The Board reserves the right to require the filing of further information as necessary to complete the record. The statute and Board regulations treat a transaction that does not involve two or more Class I railroads differently depending upon whether the transaction would have ‘‘regional or national transportation significance.’’ 49 U.S.C. 11325. Under our regulations, at 49 CFR 1180.2, a transaction that does not involve two or more Class I railroads is to be classified as ‘‘minor’’—and thus not having regional or national transportation significance—if a determination can be made either: (1) That the transaction clearly will not have any anticompetitive effects; or (2) that any anticompetitive effects will clearly be outweighed by the anticipated contribution to the public interest in meeting significant transportation needs. A transaction not involving the control or merger of two or more Class I railroads is ‘‘significant’’ if neither of these determinations can clearly be made. The Board finds the Acquisition to be a ‘‘minor transaction’’ because it appears on the face of the application that there would not be any anticompetitive effects from the transaction. The Board’s findings regarding the anticompetitive impact are preliminary. The Board will give careful consideration to any claims that the Acquisition will have anticompetitive effects that are not apparent from the application itself. Public Inspection. The application and filings in the related matters are available for inspection in the library (Room 131) at the Surface Transportation Board, 395 E Street, SW., in Washington, DC. In addition, the application and filings in the related matters may be obtained from Mr. Broadley (representing Mass Coastal) at the address indicated above. VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:41 Dec 22, 2009 Jkt 220001 Procedural Schedule. The Board has considered Applicants’ suggestion of an expedited procedural schedule, under which the Board would issue its final decision before the statutory deadline of 180 days after the filing of the application. Applicants seek to consummate the Acquisition, if approved, at the same time as the consummation of the related sale of the physical assets in the South Coast Lines to MassDOT. With some internal adjustments to the suggested filing dates, we will adopt the requested procedural schedule, and we anticipate issuing a final decision by the requested date. Under the procedural schedule adopted by the Board: Any person who wishes to participate in this proceeding as a POR must file a notice of intent to participate no later than January 6, 2010; all comments, protests, requests for conditions, and any other evidence and argument in opposition to the application, including filings by DOJ and DOT, must be filed by January 25, 2010; and responses to comments, protests, requests for conditions, and other opposition and rebuttal in support of the application must be filed by February 12, 2010. A public hearing or oral argument may be held on a date to be determined by the Board. The Board plans to issue its final decision by March 29, 2010, and make any such approval effective by April 28, 2010. For further information respecting dates, see Appendix A (Procedural Schedule). Notice of Intent To Participate. Any person who wishes to participate in this proceeding as a POR must file with the Board, no later than January 6, 2010, a notice of intent to participate, accompanied by a certificate of service indicating that the notice has been properly served on the Secretary of Transportation, the Attorney General of the United States, and Mr. Broadley (representing Mass Coastal). If a request is made in the notice of intent to participate to have more than one name added to the service list as a POR representing a particular entity, the extra name will be added to the service list as a ‘‘Non-Party.’’ The list will reflect the Board’s policy of allowing only one official representative per party to be placed on the service list. Any person designated as a Non-Party will receive copies of Board decisions, orders, and notices but not copies of official filings. Persons seeking to change their status must accompany that request with a written certification that he or she has complied with the service requirements set forth at 49 CFR 1180.4, and any other requirements set forth in this decision. PO 00000 Frm 00080 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 68303 Service-List Notice. The Board will serve, as soon after January 6, 2010, as practicable, a notice containing the official service list (the service-list notice). Each POR will be required to serve upon all other PORs, within 10 days of the service date of the servicelist notice, copies of all filings previously submitted by that party (to the extent such filings have not previously been served upon such other parties). Each POR also will be required to file with the Board, within 10 days of the service date of the service-list notice, a certificate of service indicating that the service required by the preceding sentence has been accomplished. Every filing made by a POR after the service date of the servicelist notice must have its own certificate of service indicating that all PORs on the service list have been served with a copy of the filing. Members of the United States Congress (MOCs) and Governors (GOVs) are not parties of record and need not be served with copies of filings, unless any MOC or GOV has requested to be, and is designated as, a POR. Comments, Protests, Requests for Conditions, and Other Opposition Evidence and Argument, Including Filings by DOJ and DOT. All comments, protests, requests for conditions, and any other evidence and argument in opposition to the application, including filings by DOJ and DOT, must be filed by January 25, 2010. Because the Acquisition proposed in the application is a minor transaction, no responsive applications will be permitted. See 49 CFR 1180.4(d)(1). Protesting parties are advised that, if they seek either the denial of the application or the imposition of conditions upon any approval, they must present substantial evidence in support of their positions. See Canadian National Railway Company and Grand Trunk Corporation—Control—EJ&E West Company, STB Finance Docket No. 35087 (STB served Dec. 24, 2008). Responses to Comments, Protests, Requests for Conditions, and Other Opposition; Rebuttal in Support of the Application. Responses to comments, protests, requests for conditions, and other opposition submissions, and any rebuttal in support of the application must be filed by February 12, 2010. Public Hearing/Oral Argument. The Board may hold a public hearing or an oral argument in this proceeding on a date to be determined by the Board. Discovery. Discovery may begin immediately. Requests for discovery from Applicants are due on January 11, 2010. Applicants’ responses are due on January 18, 2010. The parties are E:\FR\FM\23DEN1.SGM 23DEN1 68304 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 245 / Wednesday, December 23, 2009 / Notices encouraged to resolve all discovery matters expeditiously and amicably. Environmental Matters. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires that the Board take environmental considerations into account in its decisionmaking. Under both the regulations of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality implementing NEPA and the Board’s own environmental rules, actions are separated into three classes that prescribe the level of documentation required in the NEPA process. Actions that may significantly affect the environment generally require the Board to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).6 Actions that may or may not have a significant environmental impact ordinarily require the Board to prepare a more limited Environmental Assessment (EA).7 Finally, actions whose environmental effects are ordinarily insignificant may be excluded from NEPA review across the board, without a case-by-case review. As pertinent here, an acquisition transaction normally requires the preparation of an EA or EIS where certain thresholds would be exceeded.8 Applicants indicate that the thresholds for environmental review would not be exceeded here because Applicants expect to provide the same frequency of freight service that CSXT has been providing. Based on this information, it appears that environmental documentation and review are not required in this proceeding. Historic Review. In accordance with section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the Board is required to determine the effects of its licensing actions on cultural resources.9 The Board’s environmental rules establish exceptions to the need for historic review in certain cases, including the sale of a rail line for the purpose of continued rail operations where further Board approval is required to abandon any service and there are no plans to dispose of or alter properties subject to the Board’s jurisdiction that are 50 years old or older.10 Applicants state that the proposed transaction fits within this exception. They assert that they have no plans to alter or dispose of properties 50 or more years old, and that any future line abandonment or construction activities by Applicants would be subject to the Board’s jurisdiction. Based on this information, it appears that historic review under the NHPA is not required in this case. Filing/Service Requirements. Persons participating in this proceeding may file with the Board and serve on other parties: a notice of intent to participate (due by January 6, 2010); a certificate of service indicating service of prior pleadings on persons designated as PORs on the service-list notice (due by the 10th day after the service date of the service-list notice); any comments, protests, requests for conditions, and any other evidence and argument in opposition to the application (due by January 25, 2010); and any responses to comments, etc., and any rebuttal in support of the application (due by February 12, 2010). Filing Requirements. Any document filed in this proceeding must be filed either via the Board’s e-filing format or in the traditional paper format as provided for in the Board’s rules. Any person using e-filing should attach a document and otherwise comply with the instructions found on the Board’s Web site at ‘‘http://www.stb.dot.gov’’ at the ‘‘E-FILING’’ link. Any person filing a document in the traditional paper format should send an original and 10 paper copies of the document (and also an electronic version) to: Surface Transportation Board, 395 E Street, SW., Washington, DC 20423–0001. Service Requirements. One copy of each document filed in this proceeding must be sent to each of the following (any copy may be sent by e-mail only if service by e-mail is acceptable to the recipient): (1) Secretary of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E., Washington, DC 20590; (2) Attorney General of the United States, c/o Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, Room 3109, Department of Justice, Washington, DC 20530; (3) John H. Broadley, (representing Mass Coastal), John H. Broadley & Associates, PC, 1054 ThirtyFirst Street, NW., Suite 200, Washington, DC 20007; and (4) any other person designated as a POR on the service-list notice. Service of Decisions, Orders, And Notices. The Board will serve copies of its decisions, orders, and notices only on those persons who are designated on the official service list as either POR, MOC, GOV, or Non-Party. All other interested persons are encouraged to obtain copies of decisions, orders, and notices via the Board’s Web site at ‘‘http://www.stb.dot.gov’’ under ‘‘ELIBRARY/Decisions & Notices.’’ Access to Filings. An interested person does not need to be on the service list to obtain a copy of the application or any other filing made in this proceeding. Under the Board’s rules, any document filed with the Board (including applications, pleadings, etc.) shall be promptly furnished to interested persons on request, unless subject to a protective order. 49 CFR 1180.4(a)(3). In Decision No. 1 in this proceeding, served December 8, 2009, the Board issued a Protective Order to establish appropriate procedures for the submission of evidence containing confidential or proprietary information. The public version of the application and other filings in this proceeding will also be available on the Board’s Web site at ‘‘http://www.stb.dot.gov’’ under ‘‘ELIBRARY/Filings.’’ This action will not significantly affect either the quality of the human environment or the conservation of energy resources. It is ordered: 1. The application is accepted for consideration. 2. The parties to this proceeding must comply with the procedural schedule adopted by the Board in this proceeding as shown in Appendix A. 3. The parties to this proceeding must comply with the procedural requirements described in this decision. 4. This decision is effective on December 23, 2009. Decided: December 18, 2009. By the Board, Chairman Elliott, Vice Chairman Nottingham, and Commissioner Mulvey. Jeffrey Herzig, Clearance Clerk. srobinson on DSKHWCL6B1PROD with NOTICES APPENDIX A: PROCEDURAL SCHEDULE November 24, 2009 ... December 8, 2009 ..... December 23, 2009 ... 6 See 7 See Application, Motion for Protective Order, and Petition Suggesting Procedural Schedule filed. Protective Order Issued. Board notice of acceptance of application published in the FEDERAL REGISTER. 49 CFR 1105.4(f), 1105.10(a). 49 CFR 1105.4(d), 1105.10(b). VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:41 Dec 22, 2009 Jkt 220001 8 See 9 See PO 00000 49 CFR 1105.6(b)(4), 1105.7(e)(4) and (5). 49 CFR 1105.8. Frm 00081 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 10 See E:\FR\FM\23DEN1.SGM 49 CFR 1105.8(b)(1). 23DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 245 / Wednesday, December 23, 2009 / Notices 68305 APPENDIX A: PROCEDURAL SCHEDULE—Continued January January January January 6, 2010 ........ 11, 2010 ...... 18, 2010 ...... 25, 2010 ...... March 13, 2010 ......... TBD ........................... March 29, 2010 ......... April 28, 2010 ............ Notices of intent to participate in this proceeding due. Discovery requests due to Applicants. Responses to discovery due. All comments, protests, requests for conditions, and any other evidence and argument in opposition to the application, including filings of DOJ and DOT, due. Responses to comments, protests, requests for conditions, and other opposition due. Applicants’ rebuttal in support of the application due. A public hearing or oral argument may be held. Final decision to be served.11 Final decision to become effective. 11 Under 49 U.S.C. 11325(d)(2), a final decision would have to be issued by May 23, 2010. As previously discussed, we have shortened the time for issuing a final decision in this case to accommodate the Applicants’ desire that this sale and the sale of assets in these and other rail lines to Mass Coastal can be consummated simultaneously. [FR Doc. E9–30501 Filed 12–22–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4915–01–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration Agency Information Collection Activity Seeking OMB Approval AGENCY: Federal Aviation Admintstration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Notice. SUMMARY: The FAA invites public comments about our intention to request the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) revision of a current information collection. The Federal Register Notice with a 60-day comment period soliciting comments on the following collection of information was published on October 16, 2009, vol. 74, no. 199, pages 53313– 53314. Approval is needed for security reasons such as mortgages submitted by the public for recording against aircraft, engines, propellers, and spare parts locations. Please submit comments by January 22, 2010. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carla Mauney at Carla.Mauney@faa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DATES: srobinson on DSKHWCL6B1PROD with NOTICES Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Title: Recording of Aircraft Conveyances and Security Documents. Type of Request: Extension without change of a currently approved collection. OMB Control Number: 2120–0043. Forms(s): 8050–41. Affected Public: An estimated 45,469 Respondents. Frequency: This information is collected on occasion. Estimated Average Burden per Response: Approximately 1 hour per response. VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:41 Dec 22, 2009 Jkt 220001 Estimated Annual Burden Hours: An estimated 45,469 hours annually. Abstract: Approval is needed for security reasons such as mortgages submitted by the public for recording against aircraft, engines, propellers, and spare parts locations. Interested persons are invited to submit written comments on the proposed information collection to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget. Comments should be addressed to the attention of the Desk Officer, Department of Transportation/FAA, and sent via electronic mail to oira_submission@omb.eop.gov, or faxed to (202) 395–6974, or mailed to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Docket Library, Room 10102, 725 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20503. Comments are invited on: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Department, including whether the information will have practical utility; the accuracy of the Department’s estimates of the burden of the proposed information collection; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. ADDRESSES: Issued in Washington, DC, on December 15, 2009. Carla Mauney, FAA Information Collection Clearance Officer, IT Enterprises Business Services Division, AES–200. [FR Doc. E9–30306 Filed 12–22–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–M PO 00000 Frm 00082 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration Agency Information Collection Activity Seeking OMB Approval AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Notice. SUMMARY: The FAA invites public comments about our intention to request the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) revision of a current information collection. The Federal Register Notice with a 60-day comment period soliciting comments on the following collection of information was published on October 16, 2009, vol. 74, no. 199, page 53310. Operators and repair stations are required to report any malfunctions and defects to the Administrator. DATES: Please submit comments by January 22, 2010. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carla Mauney at Carla.Mauney@faa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Title: Service Difficulty Report. Type of Request: Extension without change of a currently approved collection. OMB Control Number: 2120–0663. Form(s): 8070–1. Affected Public: An estimated 7,695 Respondents. Frequency: This information is collected on occasion. Estimated Average Burden per Response: Approximately 9 minutes per response. Estimated Annual Burden Hours: An estimated 6,107 hours annually. Abstract: The administrator has determined, based on evaluation of previous accidents and other incidents, that certain events involving malfunctions and defects may be precursors to the recurrence of these E:\FR\FM\23DEN1.SGM 23DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 245 (Wednesday, December 23, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 68301-68305]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-30501]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Surface Transportation Board

[STB Finance Docket No. 35314]


Massachusetts Coastal Railroad, LLC--Acquisition--CSXT 
Transportation, Inc.

AGENCY: Surface Transportation Board.

ACTION: Decision No. 2 in STB Finance Docket No. 35314; Notice of 
Acceptance of Application; Issuance of Procedural Schedule.

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SUMMARY: The Surface Transportation Board (Board) is accepting for 
consideration the application seeking Board approval of the acquisition 
by Massachusetts Coastal Railroad, LLC (Mass Coastal) of a permanent 
rail freight easement on about 33 miles of the rail lines of CSX 
Transportation, Inc. (CSXT) in Massachusetts. Collectively, Mass 
Coastal and CSXT will be referred to as ``Applicants.'' If the 
application is approved, Mass Coastal would replace CSXT as the only 
railroad providing freight service on these rail lines.
    In the proposed transaction (the Acquisition), which is governed by 
49 U.S.C. 11323-26, Mass Coastal would acquire a rail freight easement 
in CSXT's ``South Coast Lines'' consisting of: (1) The New Bedford 
Subdivision, which is 18.40 miles between milepost QN 13.40 at Cotley 
Junction and milepost QN 31.80 at New Bedford; (2) the Fall River 
Subdivision, which is 14.20 miles between milepost QNF 0.00 at Myricks 
and milepost QNF 14.20 at the Fall River, Massachusetts--Rhode Island 
state line; and (3) 0.08 miles of the North Dartmouth Industrial Track 
between milepost QND 0.00 and milepost QND 0.08, a total distance of 
approximately 32.68 miles.
    The Board finds that the Acquisition is a ``minor transaction'' 
under 49 CFR 1180.2(c) and adopts a procedural schedule for 
consideration of the application, providing for the Board's final 
decision to be issued on March 29, 2010, and to become effective on 
April 28, 2010.
    In related matters, CSXT has agreed to sell the real estate, track, 
and materials in the South Coast Lines, among other property interests 
in other rail lines, to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation 
(MassDOT) and to retain a permanent freight easement over the South 
Coast Lines (the MassDOT Transaction). Consequently, MassDOT also filed 
on November 24, 2009, a notice of exemption under 49 CFR 1150.31 and a 
concurrent motion to dismiss the notice, in STB Finance Docket No. 
35312, Massachusetts Department of Transportation--Acquisition 
Exemption--Certain Assets of CSX Transportation, Inc., which was served 
and published in the Federal Register (74 FR 65589) on December 10, 
2009, to become effective December 24, 2009. If approved, the 
Acquisition would occur concurrently with the MassDOT Transaction.
    In a second transaction, CSXT has agreed to grant Mass Coastal 
certain overhead trackage rights \1\ so that Mass Coastal can connect 
the South Coast Lines to its existing lines (the Trackage Rights 
Transaction). This agreement led to the concurrent filing of a notice 
of exemption under 49 C.F.R. 1180.2(d)(7) in STB Finance Docket No. 
35314 (Sub-No. 1X), Massachusetts Coastal Railroad, LLC--Trackage 
Rights Exemption--CSX Transportation, Inc., which also was served and 
published in the Federal Register (74 FR 65592-93) on December 10, 
2009, to become effective December 24, 2009.\2\
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    \1\ These trackage rights are on CSXT's Middleboro Subdivision 
(1) between Mass Coastal's interchange tracks at Taunton, MA, at 
approximately milepost QN 11.6, and milepost QN 13.4, a distance of 
approximately 1.8 miles; and (2) between milepost QNB 13.3 and Mass 
Coastal's interchange tracks at Middleboro, MA, at approximately 
milepost QNB 20.4, a distance of about 7.1 miles, for a total 
distance of approximately 8.9 miles.
    \2\ The related exemptions are permissive and do not require the 
parties to consummate those transactions.

DATES: The effective date of this decision is December 23, 2009. Any 
person who wishes to participate in this proceeding as a party of 
record (POR) must file a notice of intent to participate no later than 
January 6, 2010. All comments, protests, requests for conditions, and 
any other evidence and argument in opposition to the application, 
including filings by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. 
Department of Transportation (DOT), must be filed by January 25, 2010. 
Any responses to such filings and rebuttal in support of the 
application must be filed by February 12, 2010. If a public hearing or 
oral argument is held, it will be on a date to be determined by the 
Board. The Board expects to issue a final decision on March 29, 2010. 
For further information respecting dates, see Appendix A (Procedural 
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Schedule).

ADDRESSES: Any filing submitted in this proceeding must be submitted 
either via the Board's e-filing format or in the traditional paper 
format. Any person using e-filing should attach a document and 
otherwise comply with the instructions found on the Board's Web site at 
``www.stb.dot.gov'' at the ``E-FILING'' link. Any person submitting a

[[Page 68302]]

filing in the traditional paper format should send an original and 10 
paper copies of the filing (and also an electronic version) to: Surface 
Transportation Board, 395 E Street, SW., Washington, DC 20423-0001. In 
addition, one copy of each filing in this proceeding must be sent (and 
may be sent by e-mail only if service by e-mail is acceptable to the 
recipient) to each of the following: (1) Secretary of Transportation, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590; (2) Attorney General 
of the United States, c/o Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust 
Division, Room 3109, Department of Justice, Washington, DC 20530; (3) 
John H. Broadley (representing Mass Coastal), John H. Broadley & 
Associates, PC, 1054 Thirty-First Street, NW., Suite 200, Washington, 
DC 20007; and (4) any other person designated as a POR on the service-
list notice (to be issued as soon after January 6, 2010, as 
practicable).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Julia M. Farr, (202) 245-0359. 
Assistance for the hearing impaired is available through the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Mass Coastal is a Class III rail carrier 
operating approximately 58.5 miles of freight lines at Taunton and 
between Middleboro and points on Cape Cod, all within Massachusetts. 
CSXT is a Class I rail carrier that owns and operates about 21,000 
miles of railroad in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, District of 
Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, 
Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, 
New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, 
Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and the Canadian Provinces of 
Ontario and Quebec.
    Mass Coastal and CSXT have entered into a Purchase and Sale 
Agreement of Permanent Freight Easement (the Agreement), to be 
effective on May 14, 2010, by which Mass Coastal will purchase a 
permanent rail freight easement in the South Coast Lines. Through this 
sale, CSXT seeks to reduce its capital needs, rationalize its rail 
system, and restructure its business. In turn, Mass Coastal would 
replace CSXT as the carrier providing freight rail service to local 
customers on these lines. Applicants believe that Mass Coastal can 
provide more effective and personalized service to shippers on the 
South Coast Lines.
    In the related MassDOT Transaction, MassDOT proposes to acquire 
certain CSXT property in two stages. The first stage--proposed to close 
on May 14, 2010--pertains to this application. In this closing, MassDOT 
would acquire from CSXT the rail assets and real estate in the South 
Coast Lines, among other property interests in other rail lines, and 
CSXT would retain a permanent freight rail easement to serve shippers 
on all the acquired lines.\3\ CSXT has agreed, with the consent of 
MassDOT, to sell the permanent freight easement over the South Coast 
Lines to Mass Coastal. CSXT will continue to interchange with Mass 
Coastal at Middleboro pursuant to the Trackage Rights Transaction and 
will consolidate its Taunton interchange (at Cotley Junction) to 
include traffic for the South Coast Lines.
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    \3\ In a letter dated December 16, 2009, submitted in the 
related MassDOT Transaction proceeding (STB Finance Docket No. 
35312), counsel for MassDOT informed the Board that CSXT has sent to 
the shippers that CSXT serves on the lines whose assets MassDOT 
would acquire copies of the Notice of Exemption and Motion to 
Dismiss that had been filed in that proceeding on November 24, 2009.
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    Passenger Service Impacts. There is no passenger or commuter 
service over the South Coast Lines today. Applicants expect the 
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), in the future, to 
expand its commuter system to provide service on the South Coast Lines. 
Applicants state that after MassDOT acquires the track, materials, and 
real estate of the South Coast Lines pursuant to the MassDOT 
Transaction, MBTA would be able to upgrade the South Coast Lines to the 
condition necessary for commuter service.
    Discontinuances/Abandonments. Mass Coastal does not anticipate 
discontinuing service or abandoning any portion of the South Coast 
Lines.
    Financial Arrangements. According to Applicants, Mass Coastal does 
not plan to enter into any new financial arrangements for the 
Acquisition and will make any payments to CSXT from cash on hand. Mass 
Coastal does not expect any fixed charges as a result of the 
Acquisition.
    Time Schedule for Consummation. The Acquisition is scheduled to be 
consummated on May 14, 2010, concurrent with the transfer of the 
physical assets in the South Coast Lines to MassDOT and the reservation 
of a permanent freight easement by CSXT.
    Public Interest Considerations. Mass Coastal believes that the 
Acquisition will improve the adequacy of transportation to the shipping 
public because, as a short line, it expects to respond more quickly and 
devote more attention to the local and smaller shippers on the South 
Coast Lines than can a large rail carrier. Mass Coastal will continue 
to provide the same frequency of service on these lines as CSXT 
currently provides \4\ and will provide more frequent service if 
traffic growth justifies expanded service.
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    \4\ CSXT currently provides service 3 days per week between 
Cotley Junction and New Bedford and 2 days per week between Cotley 
Junction and Fall River.
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    As a result of the Acquisition, according to Applicants, there is 
not likely to be any lessening of competition, or creation of a 
monopoly or restraint of trade, in freight surface transportation in 
any region of the United States. Applicants state that the South Coast 
Lines are a self-contained, light density railroad line in southeastern 
Massachusetts currently rail-served only by CSXT and that there is 
truck and barge competition for the lines' traffic today. Upon 
consummation of the Acquisition, Mass Coastal would replace CSXT as the 
sole rail operator of the South Coast Lines. There are no interchange 
commitments in the agreements between CSXT and Mass Coastal. If the 
application is approved, Mass Coastal would interchange traffic with 
CSXT at Cotley Junction (near Taunton) and at Middleboro and with the 
Bay Colony Railroad, at a point north of New Bedford.\5\
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    \5\ The Providence & Worcester Railroad Company (P&W) previously 
was granted trackage rights over the South Coast Line between Cotley 
Junction and the southern end at Fall River. P&W is not using the 
trackage rights because its connecting line at the southern end is 
out of service. Applicants state that, if P&W reopens its line, Mass 
Coastal will be required to allow P&W to use its trackage rights 
over the South Coast Line.
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    Environmental Impacts. Applicants state that no environmental 
documentation is required because there will be no operational changes 
that would exceed the thresholds established in 49 CFR 1105.7(e)(4) or 
(5) for requiring environmental review and there will be no action that 
would normally require environmental documentation. Applicants further 
indicate that an historic report is not required because they will 
operate the lines and would require further Board approval to 
discontinue or abandon any service. They state that there are no plans 
to dispose of or alter properties subject to Board jurisdiction that 
are 50 or more years old.
    Labor Impacts. CSXT anticipates that, as a result of the 
Acquisition and the related Trackage Rights Transaction, the 2 train 
crews who work out of Middleboro would experience somewhat reduced 
overtime opportunities. Mass Coastal expects to hire about 4 or 5 new 
employees to operate the South Coast Lines, including 1 locomotive 
engineer, 1 conductor, and 2 to 3 maintenance-of-way employees. 
Applicants acknowledge that the

[[Page 68303]]

Acquisition would be subject to employee protective conditions in New 
York Dock Ry.--Control--Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal, 360 I.C.C. 
60 (1979), as modified by Wilmington Term. RR, Inc.--Pur. & Lease--CSX 
Transp., Inc., 6 I.C.C.2d 799, 814-826 (1990), aff'd sub nom. Railway 
Labor Execs. Ass'n v. ICC, 930 F.2d 511 (6th Cir. 1991).
    Application Accepted. The Board finds that the Acquisition would be 
a ``minor transaction'' under 49 CFR 1180.2(c), and the Board accepts 
the application for consideration because it is in substantial 
compliance with the applicable regulations governing minor 
transactions. See 49 CFR part 1180; 49 U.S.C. 11321-26. The Board 
reserves the right to require the filing of further information as 
necessary to complete the record.
    The statute and Board regulations treat a transaction that does not 
involve two or more Class I railroads differently depending upon 
whether the transaction would have ``regional or national 
transportation significance.'' 49 U.S.C. 11325. Under our regulations, 
at 49 CFR 1180.2, a transaction that does not involve two or more Class 
I railroads is to be classified as ``minor''[horbar]and thus not having 
regional or national transportation significance[horbar]if a 
determination can be made either: (1) That the transaction clearly will 
not have any anticompetitive effects; or (2) that any anticompetitive 
effects will clearly be outweighed by the anticipated contribution to 
the public interest in meeting significant transportation needs. A 
transaction not involving the control or merger of two or more Class I 
railroads is ``significant'' if neither of these determinations can 
clearly be made.
    The Board finds the Acquisition to be a ``minor transaction'' 
because it appears on the face of the application that there would not 
be any anticompetitive effects from the transaction. The Board's 
findings regarding the anticompetitive impact are preliminary. The 
Board will give careful consideration to any claims that the 
Acquisition will have anticompetitive effects that are not apparent 
from the application itself.
    Public Inspection. The application and filings in the related 
matters are available for inspection in the library (Room 131) at the 
Surface Transportation Board, 395 E Street, SW., in Washington, DC. In 
addition, the application and filings in the related matters may be 
obtained from Mr. Broadley (representing Mass Coastal) at the address 
indicated above.
    Procedural Schedule. The Board has considered Applicants' 
suggestion of an expedited procedural schedule, under which the Board 
would issue its final decision before the statutory deadline of 180 
days after the filing of the application. Applicants seek to consummate 
the Acquisition, if approved, at the same time as the consummation of 
the related sale of the physical assets in the South Coast Lines to 
MassDOT. With some internal adjustments to the suggested filing dates, 
we will adopt the requested procedural schedule, and we anticipate 
issuing a final decision by the requested date.
    Under the procedural schedule adopted by the Board: Any person who 
wishes to participate in this proceeding as a POR must file a notice of 
intent to participate no later than January 6, 2010; all comments, 
protests, requests for conditions, and any other evidence and argument 
in opposition to the application, including filings by DOJ and DOT, 
must be filed by January 25, 2010; and responses to comments, protests, 
requests for conditions, and other opposition and rebuttal in support 
of the application must be filed by February 12, 2010. A public hearing 
or oral argument may be held on a date to be determined by the Board. 
The Board plans to issue its final decision by March 29, 2010, and make 
any such approval effective by April 28, 2010. For further information 
respecting dates, see Appendix A (Procedural Schedule).
    Notice of Intent To Participate. Any person who wishes to 
participate in this proceeding as a POR must file with the Board, no 
later than January 6, 2010, a notice of intent to participate, 
accompanied by a certificate of service indicating that the notice has 
been properly served on the Secretary of Transportation, the Attorney 
General of the United States, and Mr. Broadley (representing Mass 
Coastal).
    If a request is made in the notice of intent to participate to have 
more than one name added to the service list as a POR representing a 
particular entity, the extra name will be added to the service list as 
a ``Non-Party.'' The list will reflect the Board's policy of allowing 
only one official representative per party to be placed on the service 
list. Any person designated as a Non-Party will receive copies of Board 
decisions, orders, and notices but not copies of official filings. 
Persons seeking to change their status must accompany that request with 
a written certification that he or she has complied with the service 
requirements set forth at 49 CFR 1180.4, and any other requirements set 
forth in this decision.
    Service-List Notice. The Board will serve, as soon after January 6, 
2010, as practicable, a notice containing the official service list 
(the service-list notice). Each POR will be required to serve upon all 
other PORs, within 10 days of the service date of the service-list 
notice, copies of all filings previously submitted by that party (to 
the extent such filings have not previously been served upon such other 
parties). Each POR also will be required to file with the Board, within 
10 days of the service date of the service-list notice, a certificate 
of service indicating that the service required by the preceding 
sentence has been accomplished. Every filing made by a POR after the 
service date of the service-list notice must have its own certificate 
of service indicating that all PORs on the service list have been 
served with a copy of the filing. Members of the United States Congress 
(MOCs) and Governors (GOVs) are not parties of record and need not be 
served with copies of filings, unless any MOC or GOV has requested to 
be, and is designated as, a POR.
    Comments, Protests, Requests for Conditions, and Other Opposition 
Evidence and Argument, Including Filings by DOJ and DOT. All comments, 
protests, requests for conditions, and any other evidence and argument 
in opposition to the application, including filings by DOJ and DOT, 
must be filed by January 25, 2010.
    Because the Acquisition proposed in the application is a minor 
transaction, no responsive applications will be permitted. See 49 CFR 
1180.4(d)(1).
    Protesting parties are advised that, if they seek either the denial 
of the application or the imposition of conditions upon any approval, 
they must present substantial evidence in support of their positions. 
See Canadian National Railway Company and Grand Trunk Corporation--
Control--EJ&E West Company, STB Finance Docket No. 35087 (STB served 
Dec. 24, 2008).
    Responses to Comments, Protests, Requests for Conditions, and Other 
Opposition; Rebuttal in Support of the Application. Responses to 
comments, protests, requests for conditions, and other opposition 
submissions, and any rebuttal in support of the application must be 
filed by February 12, 2010.
    Public Hearing/Oral Argument. The Board may hold a public hearing 
or an oral argument in this proceeding on a date to be determined by 
the Board.
    Discovery. Discovery may begin immediately. Requests for discovery 
from Applicants are due on January 11, 2010. Applicants' responses are 
due on January 18, 2010. The parties are

[[Page 68304]]

encouraged to resolve all discovery matters expeditiously and amicably.
    Environmental Matters. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 
requires that the Board take environmental considerations into account 
in its decisionmaking. Under both the regulations of the President's 
Council on Environmental Quality implementing NEPA and the Board's own 
environmental rules, actions are separated into three classes that 
prescribe the level of documentation required in the NEPA process. 
Actions that may significantly affect the environment generally require 
the Board to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).\6\ 
Actions that may or may not have a significant environmental impact 
ordinarily require the Board to prepare a more limited Environmental 
Assessment (EA).\7\ Finally, actions whose environmental effects are 
ordinarily insignificant may be excluded from NEPA review across the 
board, without a case-by-case review.
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    \6\ See 49 CFR 1105.4(f), 1105.10(a).
    \7\ See 49 CFR 1105.4(d), 1105.10(b).
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    As pertinent here, an acquisition transaction normally requires the 
preparation of an EA or EIS where certain thresholds would be 
exceeded.\8\ Applicants indicate that the thresholds for environmental 
review would not be exceeded here because Applicants expect to provide 
the same frequency of freight service that CSXT has been providing. 
Based on this information, it appears that environmental documentation 
and review are not required in this proceeding.
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    \8\ See 49 CFR 1105.6(b)(4), 1105.7(e)(4) and (5).
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    Historic Review. In accordance with section 106 of the National 
Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the Board is required to determine 
the effects of its licensing actions on cultural resources.\9\ The 
Board's environmental rules establish exceptions to the need for 
historic review in certain cases, including the sale of a rail line for 
the purpose of continued rail operations where further Board approval 
is required to abandon any service and there are no plans to dispose of 
or alter properties subject to the Board's jurisdiction that are 50 
years old or older.\10\ Applicants state that the proposed transaction 
fits within this exception. They assert that they have no plans to 
alter or dispose of properties 50 or more years old, and that any 
future line abandonment or construction activities by Applicants would 
be subject to the Board's jurisdiction. Based on this information, it 
appears that historic review under the NHPA is not required in this 
case.
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    \9\ See 49 CFR 1105.8.
    \10\ See 49 CFR 1105.8(b)(1).
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    Filing/Service Requirements. Persons participating in this 
proceeding may file with the Board and serve on other parties: a notice 
of intent to participate (due by January 6, 2010); a certificate of 
service indicating service of prior pleadings on persons designated as 
PORs on the service-list notice (due by the 10th day after the service 
date of the service-list notice); any comments, protests, requests for 
conditions, and any other evidence and argument in opposition to the 
application (due by January 25, 2010); and any responses to comments, 
etc., and any rebuttal in support of the application (due by February 
12, 2010).
    Filing Requirements. Any document filed in this proceeding must be 
filed either via the Board's e-filing format or in the traditional 
paper format as provided for in the Board's rules. Any person using e-
filing should attach a document and otherwise comply with the 
instructions found on the Board's Web site at ``http://www.stb.dot.gov'' at the ``E-FILING'' link. Any person filing a 
document in the traditional paper format should send an original and 10 
paper copies of the document (and also an electronic version) to: 
Surface Transportation Board, 395 E Street, SW., Washington, DC 20423-
0001.
    Service Requirements. One copy of each document filed in this 
proceeding must be sent to each of the following (any copy may be sent 
by e-mail only if service by e-mail is acceptable to the recipient): 
(1) Secretary of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E., 
Washington, DC 20590; (2) Attorney General of the United States, c/o 
Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, Room 3109, Department 
of Justice, Washington, DC 20530; (3) John H. Broadley, (representing 
Mass Coastal), John H. Broadley & Associates, PC, 1054 Thirty-First 
Street, NW., Suite 200, Washington, DC 20007; and (4) any other person 
designated as a POR on the service-list notice.
    Service of Decisions, Orders, And Notices. The Board will serve 
copies of its decisions, orders, and notices only on those persons who 
are designated on the official service list as either POR, MOC, GOV, or 
Non-Party. All other interested persons are encouraged to obtain copies 
of decisions, orders, and notices via the Board's Web site at ``http://www.stb.dot.gov'' under ``E-LIBRARY/Decisions & Notices.''
    Access to Filings. An interested person does not need to be on the 
service list to obtain a copy of the application or any other filing 
made in this proceeding. Under the Board's rules, any document filed 
with the Board (including applications, pleadings, etc.) shall be 
promptly furnished to interested persons on request, unless subject to 
a protective order. 49 CFR 1180.4(a)(3). In Decision No. 1 in this 
proceeding, served December 8, 2009, the Board issued a Protective 
Order to establish appropriate procedures for the submission of 
evidence containing confidential or proprietary information. The public 
version of the application and other filings in this proceeding will 
also be available on the Board's Web site at ``http://www.stb.dot.gov'' 
under ``E-LIBRARY/Filings.''
    This action will not significantly affect either the quality of the 
human environment or the conservation of energy resources.
    It is ordered:
    1. The application is accepted for consideration.
    2. The parties to this proceeding must comply with the procedural 
schedule adopted by the Board in this proceeding as shown in Appendix 
A.
    3. The parties to this proceeding must comply with the procedural 
requirements described in this decision.
    4. This decision is effective on December 23, 2009.

    Decided: December 18, 2009.

    By the Board, Chairman Elliott, Vice Chairman Nottingham, and 
Commissioner Mulvey.
Jeffrey Herzig,
Clearance Clerk.

                     Appendix A: Procedural Schedule
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November 24, 2009.....................  Application, Motion for
                                         Protective Order, and Petition
                                         Suggesting Procedural Schedule
                                         filed.
December 8, 2009......................  Protective Order Issued.
December 23, 2009.....................  Board notice of acceptance of
                                         application published in the
                                         Federal Register.

[[Page 68305]]

 
January 6, 2010.......................  Notices of intent to participate
                                         in this proceeding due.
January 11, 2010......................  Discovery requests due to
                                         Applicants.
January 18, 2010......................  Responses to discovery due.
January 25, 2010......................  All comments, protests, requests
                                         for conditions, and any other
                                         evidence and argument in
                                         opposition to the application,
                                         including filings of DOJ and
                                         DOT, due.
March 13, 2010........................  Responses to comments, protests,
                                         requests for conditions, and
                                         other opposition due.
                                         Applicants' rebuttal in support
                                         of the application due.
TBD...................................  A public hearing or oral
                                         argument may be held.
March 29, 2010........................  Final decision to be served.\11\
April 28, 2010........................  Final decision to become
                                         effective.
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\11\ Under 49 U.S.C. 11325(d)(2), a final decision would have to be
  issued by May 23, 2010. As previously discussed, we have shortened the
  time for issuing a final decision in this case to accommodate the
  Applicants' desire that this sale and the sale of assets in these and
  other rail lines to Mass Coastal can be consummated simultaneously.

[FR Doc. E9-30501 Filed 12-22-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4915-01-P