STB Proposes Expanding Waybill Sample Collection for Shipments of Toxic Inhalation Hazards

To address limitations in its data thrown into relief by its decision in U.S. Magnesium, L.L.C. v. Union Pacific Railroad Company, STB Docket 42114, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) is proposing expanding its collection of rail rate information for movement of toxic inhalation hazards (TIH) such as chlorine. The revised reporting, which would begin with the January 2011 Waybill Sample collection, would expand the carload Waybill Sample information submitted to include all traffic movements designated as a TIH.

In its proposal, the STB noted that the Waybill Sample is its chief source of information about freight rail shipments terminating in the United States. The Board said that the additional data would enable more accurate assessment of domestic TIH traffic and would in particular be helpful in Three-Benchmark rail rate cases involving such traffic, as parties would have more data to draw upon when forming their comparison groups. An added benefit the STB sees is increased insight into the costs associated with handling these hazardous cargoes.

Comments on the proposed rule are due by March 4, 2010, and replies are due by April 5, 2010. For further details, including guidance on submitting comments, consult the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published in the Federal Register on Feb. 2.