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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

STB denies Union Pacific petition on haz-mat tariff provisions


The Surface Transportation Board (STB) on Tuesday announced that it denied Union Pacific Railroad's petition pertaining to certain hazardous materials tariff provisions.

The Class I in April 2011 filed the petition, which requested that the board find reasonable UP's provisions requiring shippers of toxic-by-inhalation commodities to indemnify the railroad against all liabilities not caused through the its own negligence or fault.

STB members agreed with shippers who had argued the language of the UP provisions is overly broad and that the Class I had not provided adequate support for the tariff requirements.

The provisions would have created new and unwarranted indemnifications for the railroads, which would have essentially shifted liability from a rail carrier to shippers, said American Chemistry Council officials in a prepared statement.

"We commend the STB for making a sound decision that will serve the public interest by helping to ensure the safe shipment of chemicals to American manufacturers that depend on them. By rejecting this unreasonably broad tariff, the STB avoided setting a dangerous precedent that would have undermined the federal common carrier obligation that is intended to preserve shippers' access to freight rail service," they said. "We look forward to continue working with our railroad, government and other partners to further improve an already strong safety record."

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More News from 5/3/2013