Tuesday, April 15, 2014

STB: BNSF, KCS, UP mediation "mandatory"

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The Surface Transportation Board is directing BNSF Railway, Kansas City Southern Railway, and Union Pacific to "Engage in mandatory mediation to resolve" the issue of trackage rights over nine miles of right-of-way in Texas and Louisiana.

STB's decision announced Monday, April 14, 2014, notes BNSF filed a letter in September 2013 stating the railroad "is more than willing to engage in three-carrier discussions" to resolve outstanding access issues.

BNSF seeks terminal access rights over the Rosebluff Industrial Lead, linking Dawes Tex., and Avondale, La. Both KCS and UP filed separately in March 2013 opposing BNSF's application for terminal trackage rights.

But in April 2013, Citgo Petroleum Corp. filed a petition to intervene in support of BNSF's move, and STB on Monday said it "will grant Citgo's petition to intervene in this case and direct the parties to engage in mandatory mediation."

STB's decision, Docket No. FD_3276-_46, emphasizes, "The Board favors the resolution of disputes through mediation in lieu of formal Board proceedings whenever possible." STB will appoint a mediator, but notes the Class I railroads involved "may choose to hire a non-Board mediator" as long as the STB is notified within 10 days of the decision.