Simplified Standards for Rail Rate Cases-Taxes in Revenue Shortfall Allocation Method
By a decision served on January 30, 2009, the Board directed the Association of American Railroads (AAR), and permitted other parties, to file supplemental evidence so that the Board has a full record on which to base its methodology to calculate a railroad- specific average state tax rate for use in the Revenue Shortfall Allocation Method (RSAM).
Solid Waste Rail Transfer Facilities
The Clean Railroads Act of 2008 (Clean Railroads Act or CRA), enacted to remove from the jurisdiction of the Surface Transportation Board (Board or STB) the regulation of solid waste rail transfer facilities, except as provided for in that act. The Clean Railroads Act adds new sections to title 49 of the United States Code which limit the Board's authority with regard to solid waste rail transfer facilities to the issuance of land-use-exemption permits. Upon receiving a land- use-exemption permit, a solid waste rail transfer facility need not comply with state laws, regulations, orders, and other requirements affecting the siting of the facility, as those state laws, regulations, orders and requirements would be preempted under these circumstances. The Clean Railroads Act also requires that the Board issue procedures governing the submission and review of applications for land-use- exemption permits and related filings.
30-Day Notice and Request for Comments
As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. (PRA), the Surface Transportation Board (Board) gives notice that it is requesting from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) an extension of approval without change of the seven existing collections described below. Comments are requested concerning each collection as to (1) whether the particular collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Board, including whether the collection has practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the Board's burden estimates; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology, when appropriate.
R.J. Corman Railroad Company/Pennsylvania Lines Inc.-Construction and Operation Exemption-in Clearfield County, PA
On May 20, 2008, R.J. Corman Railroad Company/Pennsylvania Lines Inc. (RJCP) filed a petition with the Surface Transportation Board (Board) pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 10502 for authority to construct and operate an abandoned 10.8-mile rail line between Wallaceton Junction and Winburne in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania (the Western Segment) and to rebuild the track on a connecting 9.3-mile line between Winburne and Gorton in Clearfield and Centre Counties, Pennsylvania (the Eastern Segment) that is currently being used for interim trail use, subject to the possible restoration of rail service (rail banking) pursuant to the Trails Act, 16 U.S.C. 1247(d). In total, the proposed project would involve the construction or rebuilding, and operation, of approximately 20 miles of the former Beech Creek Railroad to serve a new quarry, landfill, and industrial park being developed by Resource Recovery, LLC, near Gorton, Pennsylvania. Because this project has the potential to result in significant environmental impacts, the Board's Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) has determined that the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is appropriate pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). The purpose of this Notice of Intent is to notify individuals and agencies interested in or affected by the proposed project of the decision to prepare an EIS. SEA will hold a public scoping meeting as part of the NEPA process associated with the development of the EIS. Additionally, as part of the scoping process, SEA has developed a draft Scope of Study for the EIS for review and comment. The public meeting date and location, along with the draft Scope of Study, are provided below: Date and Location: The public scoping meeting will be held: Tuesday, February 10, 2009, 6-8 p.m., Philipsburg-Osceola Area Senior High School, 502 Philips Street, Philipsburg, PA 16866-1899. The public scoping meeting will be held in an informal open-house format during which interested persons may ask questions about the proposed project and the Board's environmental review process, and advise SEA staff about potential environmental effects of the project. No formal presentations will be made by agency representatives. SEA staff will be available to answer questions and receive comments individually. Interested parties are invited to submit written comments on the draft Scope of Study, alternatives to the proposed rail line, and other environmental issues and concerns by February 24, 2009, to assure full consideration during the scoping process. SEA will issue a final Scope of Study after the close of the scoping comment period.
Rail Transportation Contracts Under 49 U.S.C. 10709
The Surface Transportation Board (Board or STB) proposes to amend its rules to provide that where an agreement for rail carriage contains the disclosure statement to be set forth in this new rule, the Board will not find jurisdiction over a dispute involving the rate or service under the agreement and will treat that agreement as a rail transportation contract governed by 49 U.S.C. 10709; and conversely where an agreement for rail carriage fails to contain the disclosure statement, the Board will find jurisdiction over a dispute involving the rate or service under the agreement, absent clear and convincing evidence that the parties intended to enter into a rail transportation contract governed by 49 U.S.C. 10709; and the shipper was made aware that it could request service under a common carrier tariff rate that would be subject to STB jurisdiction.
Class I Railroad Accounting and Financial Reporting-Transportation of Hazardous Materials
The Surface Transportation Board (STB) seeks comment on whether and how it should update its accounting and financial reporting for Class I rail carriers and refine its Uniform Railroad Costing System (URCS) to better capture the operating cost of transporting hazardous materials.