Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has asked the Surface Transportation Board to appoint representatives of the coal industry to the board’s Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee.
The committee’s charter allows for 25 voting members, with three representatives from coal producers. However, the committee currently has no coal producer members and there have been no updates from that sector presented to the committee,, according to the senators’ Nov. 18 letter to the STB.
At a time when many industries are experiencing “continued difficulties shipping commodities due to continuing rail service issues,” the committee should include representatives of coal, which remains the largest volume commodity on the nation’s railways, the letter states.
Signing the letter were U.S. Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), John Barrasso (R-Iowa), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.).
In October, the committee met with STB members and staff to provide industry updates on service problems with the railroads, the senators wrote. Representatives of the oil, biofuel, utility and rail industries spoke to the committee, but coal had a “notable absence” at the meeting.
“As part of your continued oversight of the rail industry to ensure the railroads meet their obligations and commitments for all types of commodities, we ask that you fill the vacant coal production seats on the committee without delay,” wrote the senators. They asked the STB to respond to their request by Dec. 2.