Contact: Scott Jensen (202) 249-6511  

WASHINGTON (March 21, 2013) - Today, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senator David Vitter (R-LA) introduced legislation to remove the freight rail industry's obsolete exemptions from the nation's antitrust laws to help promote fairness and competition in the railroad industry. The American Chemistry Council (ACC) issued the following statement in response:

"We applaud Senator Klobuchar (D - MN) and Senator Vitter (R - LA) for their leadership in advancing reforms that increase access to a more competitive freight rail system. The bipartisan legislation was introduced at the same time the Surface Transportation Board (STB) is investigating an array of rail competition reforms to address a troubling trend in the nation's freight rail system as rates have soared to the highest level in 20 years. Since 2004 alone, rail rates have increased at approximately two and a half times the rate of inflation.

"Outdated exemptions from antitrust laws provide railroads with unique government protections that help shield them from free markets and competition. As  recent ACC research shows, the lack of rail competition and rising rail freight rates are hurting the chemical industry's ability to meet customer needs, hindering investment decisions, and harming our nation's economy.

"We believe more competition and a level playing field will benefit shippers, railroads and the broader economy. The legislation introduced today is a step forward toward that goal. We look forward to working with Senator Klobuchar and Senator Vitter as well as other policymakers to ensure shippers have greater access to competitive freight rail service."

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