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  • Press Release

ACC Welcomes New Policies to Solve Freight Rail Disputes

Scott Jensen

WASHINGTON (December 20, 2022) — The Surface Transportation Board (STB) released long awaited rules that will provide shippers and carriers with quicker and simpler options for resolving small rail rate cases. Under the new Final Offer Rate Review (FORR) and the Voluntary Arbitration Program, the STB will now have more streamlined processes for addressing disputes involving unreasonable freight rail rates.

“These new procedures are an important move in the right direction that will provide the STB, railroads and shippers with a speedier option for resolving small rate cases in the absence of effective market competition,” said Dr. Kimberly Wise White, the American Chemistry Council’s vice president of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs. “Instead of lingering on for years, rate cases can be resolved in a matter of months. Adopting these new rules helps the Board fulfill its Congressional mandate to ensure reasonable rates for shippers that lack competitive transportation options.”

The adoption of two new processes responds to recommendations by the STB’s Rate Reform Task Force, which called on the Board to make its procedures more workable and accessible to all shippers. In addition to the Task Force, FORR is also supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Academies Transportation Research Board.

The Voluntary Arbitration Program will become operative only if all seven Class I carriers commit to participating in the program for five years. If all Class I carriers do so, they will be exempt from the FORR procedure.

Dr. Kimberly Wise White, American Chemistry Council’s Vice President of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs
There’s still plenty of work to do to bring U.S. freight rail policies up to speed. We strongly encourage the Board to adopt additional long overdue reforms that will help head off future problems and provide shippers with better access to competitive and reliable rail service.
American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council’s mission is to advocate for the people, policy, and products of chemistry that make the United States the global leader in innovation and manufacturing. To achieve this, we: Champion science-based policy solutions across all levels of government; Drive continuous performance improvement to protect employees and communities through Responsible Care®; Foster the development of sustainability practices throughout ACC member companies; and Communicate authentically with communities about challenges and solutions for a safer, healthier and more sustainable way of life. Our vision is a world made better by chemistry, where people live happier, healthier, and more prosperous lives, safely and sustainably—for generations to come.

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