STB Wants to Modify its Rules

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board said last week it is initiating a rules making process designed to modify its longstanding rules on ex parte communications during informal rule-making proceedings.

Such communication has been prohibited in the past.

In its notice, the STB said it is looking to allow ex parte communications, subject to disclosure requirements, and “to make other clarifications as to when and how interested persons may communicate with the Board about other pending proceedings.”

The notice said the STB has waived the rules pertaining to ex parte communications in two recent cases in order to allow individual board members or staff to participate in one-on-one meetings, subject to public disclosure requirements.

The board said it found these meetings useful and has recognized that significant benefits flow from direct and candid discussions with stakeholders.

In a news release, the STB said that more generally, many federal agencies now have regulations and policies facilitating direct interaction with stakeholders on regulatory matters.

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