Office of Proceedings

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The Office of Proceedings (OP) is the office within the Surface Transportation Board (STB) with primary responsibility for developing the public record in formal cases (or proceedings) filed with the STB, making recommendations regarding the resolution of issues presented in those cases, and preparing the decisions issued by the Board.

OP is a legal office, consisting almost entirely of attorneys and paralegal specialists, responsible for the majority of the cases at the STB. The office applies the Interstate Commerce Act, as amended by the ICC Termination Act of 1995, as well as the Board's rules found at Title 49, parts 1000 to 1332 of the Code of Federal Regulations. In carrying out its responsibilities, OP obtains and applies any necessary input from economic, financial, operational, environmental, and other legal staff experts throughout the agency.

OP includes a clearance unit responsible for tabulating votes on STB cases and recording the official outcome of those votes. When a decision is reached by the Members, the clearance unit makes arrangements for the approved decision to be delivered to appropriate staff for reproduction and service (that is, official issuance), and prepares the decision to be placed on the STB's Web site.

All filings addressed to the STB's Chief, Section of Administration (applications, petitions, class exemptions, complaints, motions, letters, etc.) are routed to OP, where every filing is examined for compliance with filing procedures pursuant to the Board's regulations. This includes checking for the proper number of filed copies, certificate of service (certification of the delivery of copies to all participants in a case), and receipt of the proper filing fee, if applicable. If a filing is not in compliance, OP notifies the filer and advises how the filing may be perfected. OP recommends that anyone planning to file a new case reserve a docket number with the office prior to filing. This can be done by contacting the office at (202) 245-0350, (202) 245-0362, or by fax (202) 245-0457. OP will assign a docket number to a new case that does not have a reserved docket number.

All properly filed documents are electronically scanned and downloaded by filing date onto the STB's Web site, with the exception of confidential filings, which are only made available to the staff. After a document is scanned, it is sent to the STB's public docket room. Items not addressed to the Board's Chief, Section of Administration or not filed pursuant to the Board's regulations are placed in the correspondence section of the public docket for that case.

OP includes a recordations unit that enters data about a filing's primary and secondary documents into the STB Recordations database, which is accessible to the public on the STB Web site. Recordation documents are scanned and attached to the corresponding filing entries. One copy of each document is available for the public to review in the STB's Recordations Library, which also serves as an archive for historical and current recordations. Original documents are also microfilmed for the official record.

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