On March 1, ISRI submitted reply comments to the Surface Transportation Board concerning its proposed new approach for considering class exemption and revocation issues. ISRI’s reply comments focus on “the incorrect, misleading, and self-serving assertions” railroad parties made, which ISRI argues mischaracterize the exemption revocation standard and precedent; seek to reverse the long-standing reliance by Congress, the STB, and the courts on revenue-to-variable cost metrics as an indicator of railroad market power; repeat positions on the market conditions for scrap metal that have already been discredited; and propose arbitrary exemption revocation evidentiary standards that would effectively bar shippers from ever accessing the board’s procedures.

In its reply comments, ISRI recommends the STB “reject these unfounded assertions” and “move expeditiously toward a final decision revoking the scrap metal exemption” and restore the STB’s oversight without using its proposed new approach.

“Revoking the commodity exemption for ferrous scrap would put the ferrous scrap and steel industries back on a level playing field to challenge unfair railroad practices and other service related problems,” says Billy Johnson, ISRI’s chief lobbyist, says. Johnson has been closely involved with ISRI’s efforts to evoke commodity exemptions for years.

ISRI’s reply comments respond to the railroads’ opening round of comments to the STB’s proposal of Sept. 30, 2020, which were due Jan. 29 of this year. ISRI also submitted opening comments along with the American Forest & Paper Association and the National Industrial Transportation League, which argued that the STB’s proposed revocation process had a “fatal flaw” in not using the Rail Transportation Policy as its basis for decision-making.

Image courtesy of @ben_wagner on unsplash.com.