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Coal Generation in the U.S. Down More than Expected

A survey conducted by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, which was recently presented during a Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee hearing, shows that a coal-fired generation for a significant majority of utilities surveyed is below forecasted...

Utilities Feel Effects of Rail Disruptions

On April 10, representatives for companies that rely on rail shipments appeared at a Surface Transportation Board (STB) hearing to highlight the problems that recent rail shipment disruptions have caused in their industries and to ask STB to take steps to reduce these disruptions.  In the utility sector, delays in shipping coal could lead to higher costs for energy or a decrease in...

Rate Case Returned to Surface Transportation Board for Review

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has decided that the Surface Transportation Board must revisit the arguments of BNSF Railway Company about how to allocate costs and revenues in the $345 million electric rate case involving Basin Electric Power Cooperative and Western Fuels Association, a fuel supply coop.  This is a dispute that has lingered for ten...

AECC Requests Review of Coal Tariff Decision

Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) has asked the federal Surface Transportation Board to reconsider its December ruling related to the shipping of coal.  AECC argued that the decision, which upheld a rail tariff that requires shippers to cover the cost of cleaning coal dust emissions from railcars, lacked sufficient justification.  AECC provided evidence suggesting that...

Dust Settles after Utility Fight with BNSF

The verdict is in: Coal shippers led by Arkansas Electric Cooperative will have to comply with BNSF Railway’s (BNSF) loading instructions aimed at suppressing coal dust emissions from Powder River Basin coal trains after the Surface Transportation Board (Board) ruled the requirements were permissible.  Since 2009, utilities have fought the requirement to apply surfactants to their...

Two G&T Coops Seek Change in Rail Shipping Regulations

Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) and Seminole Electric Cooperative, Inc. have joined other shippers in requesting that the federal Surface Transportation Board change rules related to switching carload freight between carriers.  The proposal, called reciprocal switching, would allow captive shippers, subject to certain conditions, to access a second carrier if their...

Bipartisan Group of Senators Express Concern Over Potential Hike in Shipping Rates

Several U.S. senators, led by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., have asked federal regulators to make sure that an investment giant’s purchase of BNSF Railway Co. does not saddle shippers with unfair costs.  Specifically, Sen. Franken, along with Sens. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.; Tim Johnson, D-S.D.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.; and David Vitter, R-La, told the Surface...

Shippers Push Against Increased Coal Dust Costs

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) was among the filers opposing a BNSF Railway tariff that would cost shippers $50 to $150 million annually to control coal dust from rail cars.  In the filings, submitted to the Surface Transportation Board, opponents argued that these costs are unreasonable and result in double-payment obligations for shippers.  Read...

Surface Transportation Board Denies Coop’s Challenge of Shipping Rates

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has declined to order two railroad carriers to charge a single shipping rate as requested by Arizona Electric Power Cooperative.  In 2011, the STB issued an opinion in favor of the coop, finding that the railroad companies, BNSF Railway Company and Union Pacific Railroad Company, had charged unreasonable rates.  The full text of the most recent...

Coop to Receive $63 Million in Reparations from Railway

Arizona Electric Power Cooperative won an estimated $63 million in rate reductions and reparations Tuesday after the US Surface Transportation Board found that BNSF Railway and Union Pacific overcharged the coop for coal shipments.  The ruling by the STB, which is the regulatory agency charged with resolving freight railroad disputes, is a rare victory for coops who have watched coal...

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