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STB to hear arguments for major cases in public forum


Arguments in some Surface Transportation Board (STB) cases now will be made before the public. Yesterday, STB Chairman Daniel Elliott III announced the board will begin to hold public oral arguments.

The public forum will enable parties to directly address the board and provide STB commissioners an opportunity to ask questions before making a decision. The format will be similar to oral arguments held in federal appellate courts, according to the STB. However, only counsel representing the parties will be allowed to argue a case.

“This is another way to demystify the process," said Elliott in a prepared statement.

Elliot, who’s made bringing additional openness and transparency to STB decision-making processes a high priority, plans to review other board policies and procedures to ensure they’re as “inclusive and open” as possible.

The first scheduled oral argument will be held Oct. 27 in Washington, D.C., regarding a rate case — Entergy Arkansas Inc. and Entergy Services Inc. vs. Union Pacific Railroad and Missouri & Northern Arkansas Railroad Co. Inc. — as well as DesertXpress Enterprises L.L.C’s petition for a declaratory order.

The STB also scheduled oral arguments for Nov. 23, but a list of cases hasn’t been finalized.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/8/2009