Tongue River Railroad Company, Inc.-Rail Construction and Operation-in Custer, Powder River and Rosebud Counties, MT
On October 16, 2012, Tongue River Railroad Company, Inc. (TRRC) filed a revised application with the Surface Transportation Board (Board) pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 10901 in Docket No. FD 30186. TRRC intends to construct and operate an approximately 80-mile rail line between Miles City, Montana, and two ending points, one near the site of the previously planned Montco mine near Ashland, Montana, and another at the proposed Otter Creek mine in the Otter Creek area east of Ashland, Montana. Because the construction and operation of this project has the potential to result in significant environmental impacts, the Board's Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) 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 stakeholdersincluding members of the public; Tribes; federal, state, and local agencies; environmental groups; and potential shippersinterested in or potentially affected by the proposed project of the decision to prepare an EIS. OEA will hold public scoping meetings as part of the NEPA process. Oral and written comments submitted during scoping will assist OEA in defining the range of actions, alternatives, and impacts to be considered in the EIS. To begin the scoping process, OEA has developed a Draft Scope of Study for the EIS for review and comment. Public meeting dates and locations, along with the Draft Scope of Study, are provided below.
Notice and Request for Comments
The Surface Transportation Board (Board), 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), is submitting a request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for renewed approval for the Waybill Compliance Survey. The Board previously published a notice about this collection in the Federal Register on May 9, 2012, at 77 FR 27279. That notice allowed for a 60- day public review and comment period. No comments were received. The Waybill Compliance Survey is described in detail below. Comments may now be submitted to OMB concerning (1) the accuracy of the Board's burden estimates; (2) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; (3) 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; and (4) whether this collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Board, including whether the collection has practical utility.
Civil Monetary Penalty Inflation Adjustment Rule
The Surface Transportation Board (Board) is issuing a final rule to adjust the Board's civil monetary penalties for inflation on a periodic basis pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Act of 1990, as amended by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996. Prior to the issuance of this rule, the Board's penalties have not been adjusted for inflation since they were prescribed in the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995 (ICCTA). As mandated by the Debt Collection Improvement Act, the Board's initial increase of its penalties cannot exceed 10%. The Board is required to review its penalties again at least once every four years thereafter and adjust them as necessary for inflation according to a specified formula.
Information Collection Activities
As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3519 (PRA), the Surface Transportation Board (STB or Board) gives notice of its intent to seek from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval of the information collections required under 49 U.S.C. 11301 and 49 CFR part 117 (rail or water carrier equipment liens (recordations)); under 49 U.S.C. 10747 and 49 CFR part 1313 (rail agricultural contract summaries); and under 49 U.S.C. 13702(b) and 49 CFR part 1312 (water carrier tariffs). The relevant information collections are described in more detail below. For each collection, comments are requested concerning: (1) The accuracy of the Board's burden estimates; (2) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; (3) 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; and (4) whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Board, including whether the collection has practical utility. Submitted comments will be summarized and included in the Board's request for OMB approval.
Railroad Revenue Adequacy-2011 Determination
On October 16, 2012, the Board served a decision announcing the 2011 revenue adequacy determinations for the Nation's Class I railroads. Two carriers, Norfolk Southern Combined Railroad Subsidiaries and Union Pacific Railroad Company, were found to be revenue adequate.
BNSF Railway Company-Acquisition and Operation Exemption-Nebraska Northeastern Railway Company
The Board is granting an exemption under 49 U.S.C. 10502 from the prior approval requirements of 49 U.S.C. 11323-25 for BNSF Railway Company (BNSF), a Class I rail carrier, to acquire and operate a 120.4- mile rail line owned by Nebraska Northeastern Railway Company (NENE), a Class III rail carrier, between milepost 4.0, near Ferry Station, Neb., and milepost 124.4, at O'Neill, Neb. Upon consummation of the authorized transaction, BNSF would replace NENE as the only rail carrier providing freight service on the line. The acquisition and operation exemption is subject to standard labor protective conditions.
United States Department of Energy and United States Department of Defense v. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company, et al. and Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad Company, et al.
On September 4, 2012, United States Department of Energy and the United States Department of Defense (the Government) and BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) (collectively Movants), filed a motion requesting approval of an agreement that would settle these rate reasonableness disputes as between them only. The Board is adopting a procedural schedule for filing comments and replies addressing their proposed settlement agreement. (As detailed below, these proceedings involve disputes among a number of different entities, including other railroad carriers besides BNSF. This settlement applies only to the parties submitting the instant agreement and does not resolve these proceedings in their entirety.)
Western Coal Traffic League-Petition for Declaratory Order
The Surface Transportation Board seeks comments from the public addressing the recent discovery that Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (Berkshire), owned or controlled CBEC Railway (CBEC) and White City Terminal Union Railway (WCTU) when it acquired BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) in February 2010, thus subjecting Berkshire's acquisition of BNSF to the Board's jurisdiction pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 11323. Specifically, the Board seeks comments addressing the effect, if any, of this discovery on the post-February 2010 valuation of BNSF's asset base.