STB Decision Stirs Debate on Who Can Regulate Waste Sites on Rail Property

Date: July 23, 2007

Source: News Room

In the ongoing debate over who has the power to regulate waste facilities located on railroad property, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) upped the ante by ruling on a proposed transloading operation in Massachusetts. In considering a rail-shipment transload business proposed by New England Transrail, the STB decided that waste handling and even temporary storage is "integrally related" to transportation and therefore covered by federal preemption. The board took exception to the shredding of wastes which it deemed outside the purview of transportation and conceded that its decision did not completely eliminate the application of state and local police powers, even though it limited them substantially. The decision is only preliminary as NET's proposed project will not be considered for final approval until environmental and public interest safeguards are met.

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