Surface Transportation Board Updates Rules on Ex Parte Communications in Informal Rulemaking Proceedings

This article has been reprinted from the March 15, 2018 USDA Grain Transportation Report.

On February 28, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) released a decision in EP 739, Ex Parte Communications in Informal Rulemaking Proceedings, to permit ex parte communications (i.e., without the knowledge or consent of the parties to the proceeding) in informal rulemaking proceedings, subject to disclosure requirements. 

STB also adopted other changes to its ex parte rules that clarify and update when and how interested persons may communicate informally with the Board, regarding pending proceedings other than rulemaking. 

The intent of the modified regulations is to enhance STB’s ability to make informed decisions, through increased stakeholder communications, while ensuring STB’s record-building process in rulemaking proceedings remains transparent and fair.