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SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD BEGINS RULEMAKING ON INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR USE OF "CLASS EXEMPTION" FOR ACQUISITION, LEASE & OPERATION OF RAIL LINES




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>From the Surface Transportation Board, Washington, D.C.
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The Surface Transportation Board announced today that it has begun a
rulemaking proceeding to consider whether to increase the amount of
information required from parties seeking to use the abbreviated "class
exemption" procedure to obtain authority to acquire, lease and operate rail
lines.


 The Board has heard a growing number of concerns in recent years from
 private citizens, local, state and federal officials, and others urging
 the Board to increase its oversight of individuals and businesses that
 seek to operate rail facilities under the Board's jurisdiction, exempt
 from various local and state laws and regulations.


 In June 2007, six of the largest railroads asked the Board to institute a
 rulemaking to consider additions to the information currently required in
 notices filed under the Board's class-exemption regulations at 49 CFR Part
 1150, Subparts D and E, such as whether the entity seeking authorization
 intends to provide facilities for the transportation or transloading of
 municipal solid waste or construction and demolition debris, and how the
 railroad facilities have been and will be operated.


 The Board's decision today states that, following further analysis, the
 Board intends to prepare a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and will seek
 public comment on any proposed changes to the current regulations.


 In announcing this decision, Board Chairman Charles D. Nottingham stated:
 "It is my hope that by initiating this rulemaking process and receiving
 public comments, the Board will be able to identify and implement
 improvements that advance the public interest in this area of railroad
 regulation."


 The Board issued its decision today, October 4, 2007, in the proceeding
 entitled Information Required in Certain Notices of Exemption, STB Ex
 Parte No. 673(
 http://www.stb.dot.gov/decisions/readingroom.nsf/WebDecisionID/38342?OpenDocument
 )
 .  That decision is available for viewing and downloading via the Board's
 Web site, at http://www.stb.dot.gov, under "E-Library," then under
 "Decisions & Notices," beneath the date "10/4/07."  A printed copy of the
 Board's decision also is available for a fee by contacting ASAP Document
 Solutions, 9332 Annapolis Rd., Suite 103, Lanham, MD 20706, telephone
 (202) 306-4004 or via asapdc@xxxxxxxxxxxx


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