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Surface Transportation Board wants input on hot topics

Board will hold hearings from December through March to garner public comments

The Surface Transportation Board plans to host a number of public hearings in the upcomin months. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Board seeks to create an environmental impact statement on proposed CP-KCS merger

An office within the Surface Transportation Board plans to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) on Canadian Pacific’s (NYSE: CP) proposed acquisition of Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU).

STB’s Office of Environmental Analysis on Friday issued a notice of intent to produce the EIS because “the proposed acquisition has the potential to result in environmental impacts,” STB said. STB will conduct an environmental analysis per the National Environmental Policy Act in order for the board to identify and assess what potential environmental consequences could arise from the merger.

The NEPA process is intended to assist the board and the public in identifying and assessing the potential environmental consequences of a proposed action before a decision on that proposal is made. 

STB is seeking comments through Dec. 17 on the scope of the EIS and what issues should be addressed. There will also be six online public scoping meetings during the scoping comment period. 

The board has established a website for the proposed acquisition, which will include information on the environmental process:

STB to hold hearings on outstanding issues

In a separate and additional announcement, the board said Friday that it will be hosting public hearings in January through March 2022 on CSX’s proposed acquisition of New England short line Pan Am Railways, Amtrak’s plan to restore Gulf Coast service and reciprocal switching. 

“Each of the three matters for which public hearings are now being scheduled involves issues with the potential for significant impact, not only on the involved railroads but on the shipping community, labor, rail passengers, consumers and the public at large,” said STB Chairman Marty Oberman. “Discussing these issues in a public forum is an important step for improving public participation and accountability for the board. I anticipate conducting more public hearings and oral arguments in significant matters before the board.”

On Jan. 13, STB will hold a public hearing on CSX’s (NASDAQ: CSX) request to acquire Pan Am Railways. The hearing could extend to Jan. 14. The board’s decision to consider CSX’s acquisition application can be found here

On Feb. 15, with Feb. 16 being a potential second day, STB will hold a public hearing on Amtrak’s plans to restore Gulf Coast service between Mobile, Alabama, and New Orleans. The service would passenger trains on rail lines owned by CSX and Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC). STB’s decision on hearing this application can be found here

On March 15 and 16, the board will hear feedback on the reciprocal switching regulations it has proposed. The proceeding docket for Ex Parte 711 can be found here

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Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.