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STB Will Consider Abuse of Unregulated Rail Waste Site Exemptions

Date: October 10, 2007

Source: News Room

The Surface Transportation Board is set to decide whether to tighten procedures that critics argue allow rail carriers and other businesses to establish essentially unregulated waste transfer stations along rail property. Several companies, particularly in the Northeast, have set up rail lines or constructed facilities along rail lines employing what is called a "class exemption" to avoid federal environmental review and state and local regulations. The STB said last week that it will consider asking those who file such exemptions whether they intend to move waste or construction and demolition debris. Such unregulated facilities, according to the major waste management associations and others, give them an unfair competitive advantage and poses risks to the environment. The move by the STB comes at the behest of a petition in June from six freight carriers, including CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway, who argued that more information was needed to determine whether companies were truly entitled to such exemptions. "These class exemptions are being abused by parties whose primary objective is something other than providing rail service," it said.

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