The Surface Transportation Board announced today that it is seeking public comment on the desirability of establishing a rail energy transportation advisory committee to provide independent advice and policy suggestions to the STB on issues related to the reliability of the rail transportation of resources critical to the Nation's energy supply, including, but not necessarily limited to, coal and ethanol.
Specifically, the STB seeks the views of the rail and energy industries--and interested persons and parties--on the potential utility of establishing such a federal advisory committee. Additionally, if such a committee were established, the STB seeks comment on its appropriate scope, optimum size, and potential membership to reflect an appropriate and balanced cross-section of participants.
The agency believes that an advisory committee consisting of a balanced cross-section of rail and energy-industry stakeholders could serve as a means of fostering open, effective communication among industries, persons, and parties on such issues as rail performance, capacity constraints, infrastructure planning and development, and effective coordination among suppliers, carriers, and users of energy resources.
In announcing the agency's request for comments, STB Chairman Charles D. Nottingham stated:
"The success of our national energy policy and related job creation and economic growth will increasingly depend on the rail industry's ability to meet energy producers' growing demand for efficient rail transportation service. A new advisory committee would improve lines of communication among the energy sector, railroads and the federal government and would assist the STB in making well-informed policy decisions and recommendations on these vital matters."
The STB requested public comment and provided full details for comment submission in its "Decision" in the proceeding entitled "Establishment of the Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee," STB Ex Parte No. 670, issued today, March 9, 2007. That decision is available for viewing and downloading via the agency's Web site at http://www.stb.dot.gov. A printed copy of the STB's decision also is available by contacting ASAP Document Solutions, 9332 Annapolis Rd., Suite 103, Lanham, MD 20706, telephone (202) 306-4004, or via firstname.lastname@example.org.