Surface Transportation Board, Transportation.
The Surface Transportation Board is revising the delegation of authority regulations to reflect changes made by the ICC Termination Act of 1995 and other changes. These rules set out the organization of the Board and procedures in processing cases, certain litigation, and informal opinions. The Board's revision to its regulations include the removal of obsolete delegations of authority, and the updating of references to statutory provisions.
These rules are effective on September 30, 2002.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
John Sado, (202) 565-1661. [Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) for the hearing impaired: 1-800-877-8339.]End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
The Board's decision adopting these regulations (which includes the new rules) is posted on the Board's website, www.stb.dot.gov. In addition, copies of the decision may be purchased from Dā-2-Dā Legal Copy Service by calling 202-293-7776 (assistance for the hearing impaired is available through FIRS at 1-800-877-8339) or visiting Suite 405, 1925 K Street, NW., Washington, DC 20006.
This action will not significantly affect either the quality of the human environment or the conservation of energy resources.Start List of Subjects
List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 1011
- Administrative practice and procedure
- Authority delegations (Government agencies)
- Organization and functions (Government agencies)
Decided: September 18, 2002.
By the Board, Chairman Morgan and Vice Chairman Burkes.
Vernon A. Williams,
For the reasons set forth in the preamble, part 1011, of title 49, chapter X, of the Code of Federal Regulations is revised as follows:End Amendment Part Start Part
PART 1011— BOARD ORGANIZATION; DELEGATIONS OF AUTHORITY
(a) This part describes the organization of the Board, and the assignment of jurisdiction and the responsibilities to the Board, individual Board Members or employees, and employee boards.
(b) As used in this part, matter includes any case, proceeding, question, or other matter within the Board's jurisdiction; and decision includes any decision, ruling, order, or requirement of the Board, an individual Board Member or employee, or an employee board.
(a) The Board reserves to itself for consideration and disposition:
(1) All rulemaking and similar proceedings involving the promulgation of rules or the issuance of statements of general policy.
(2) All investigations and other proceedings instituted by the Board, except as may be ordered in individual situations.
(3) All administrative appeals in a matter previously considered by the Board.
(4) All other matters submitted for decision except those assigned to an Start Printed Page 60168individual Board Member or employee or an employee board.
(5) Except for matters assigned to the Chairman of the Board under § 1011.4(a)(6):
(i) The determination of whether to reconsider a decision being challenged in court;
(ii) The disposition of matters that have been the subject of an adverse decision by a court; and
(iii) The determination of whether to file any memorandum or brief or otherwise participate on behalf of the Board in any court.
(6) The disposition of all matters involving issues of general transportation importance, and the determination whether issues of general transportation importance are involved in any matter.
(7) All appeals of initial decisions issued by the Director of the Office of Proceedings under the authority delegated by § 1011.7(b). Appeals must be filed within 10 days after service of the Director decision or publication of the notice, and replies must be filed within 10 days after the due date for appeals or any extension thereof.
(b) The Board may bring before it any matter assigned to an individual Board Member or employee or employee board.
(a)(1) The Chairman of the Board is appointed by the President as provided by 49 U.S.C. 701(c)(1). The Chairman has authority, duties, and responsibilities assigned under 49 U.S.C. 701(c)(2) and described in this part.
(2) The Vice Chairman is elected by the Board for the term of 1 calendar year.
(3) In the Chairman's absence, the Vice Chairman is acting Chairman, and has the authority and responsibilities of the Chairman. In the Vice Chairman's absence, the Chairman, if present, has the authority and responsibilities of the Vice Chairman. In the absence of both the Chairman and Vice Chairman, the remaining Board Member is acting Chairman, and has the authority and responsibilities of the Chairman and Vice Chairman.
(b)(1) The Chairman is the executive head of the Board and has general responsibilities for:
(i) The overall management and functioning of the Board;
(ii) The formulation of plans and policies designed to assure the effective administration of the Interstate Commerce Act and related Acts;
(iii) Prompt identification and early resolution, at the appropriate level, of major substantive regulatory problems; and
(iv) The development and use of effective staff support to carry out the duties and functions of the Board.
(2) The Chairman of the Board exercises the executive and administrative functions of the Board, including:
(i) The appointment, supervision, and removal of Board employees, except those in the immediate offices of Board Members other than the Chairman;
(ii) The distribution of business among such personnel and among administrative units of the Board; and
(iii) The use and expenditures of funds.
(3) In carrying out his or her functions, the Chairman is governed by general policies of the Board and by such regulatory decisions, findings, and determinations as the Board by law is authorized to make.
(4) The appointment by the Chairman of the heads of offices is subject to the approval of the Board. All heads of offices report to the Chairman.
(c)(1) The Chairman presides at all sessions of the Board and sees that every vote and official act of the Board required by law to be recorded is accurately and promptly recorded by the Secretary or the person designated by the Board for that purpose.
(2) Regular sessions of the Board are provided for by Board regulations. The Chairman may call the Board into special session to consider any matter or business of the Board. The Chairman shall convene a special session to consider any matter or business on request of a member of the Board unless a majority of the Board votes either not to hold a special session or to delay conference consideration of that item, or unless the Chairman finds that special circumstances warrant a delay. Notwithstanding the two immediately preceding sentences of this paragraph, on the written request of any member of the Board, the Chairman shall schedule a Board conference to discuss and vote on significant Board proceedings involving major transportation issues, and such conference shall be held within a reasonable time following the close of the record in the involved proceeding.
(3) The Chairman exercises general control over the Board's argument calendar and conference agenda.
(4) The Chairman acts as correspondent and speaks for the Board in all matters where an official expression of the Board is required.
(5) The Chairman brings any delay or failure in the work to the attention of the supervising Board Member, employee, or board, and initiates ways of correcting or preventing avoidable delays in the performance of any work or the disposition of any matter.
(6) The Chairman may appoint such standing or ad hoc committees of the Board as he or she considers necessary.
(7) The Chairman may reassign related proceedings to a board of employees and may remove a matter from an individual Board Member or employee or employee board for consideration and disposition by the Board.
(8) The Chairman may authorize any officer, employee, or administrative unit of the Board to perform a function vested in or delegated to the Chairman.
(9) The Chairman authorizes the institution of investigations on the Board's own motion, and their discontinuance at any time before hearing.
(10) The Chairman approves for publication all publicly issued documents by an office, except:
(i) Those authorized or adopted by the Board or an individual Board Member that involve decisions in formal proceedings;
(ii) Decisions or informal opinions of an office; and
(iii) Documents prepared for court cases or for introduction into evidence in a formal proceeding.
(a) The following matters are referred to the Chairman of the Board:
(1) Entry of reparation orders responsive to findings authorizing the filing of statements of claimed damages as provided at 49 CFR part 1133.
(2) Extensions of time for compliance with orders and procedural matters in any formal case or pending matter, except appeals taken from the decision of a hearing officer on requests for discovery.
(3) Postponement of the effective date of orders in proceedings that are the subject of suits brought in a court to enjoin, suspend, or set aside the decision.
(4) Dismissal of complaints and applications on the unopposed motion of any party.
(5) Requests for access to waybills and to statistics reported under orders of the Board.
(6) Exercise of control over litigation arising under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) and the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a), except for determinations whether to seek further judicial review of:
(i) A decision in which a court finds under 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(F) that Board Start Printed Page 60169personnel may have acted arbitrarily or capriciously in improperly withholding records from disclosure; or
(ii) A decision in which a court finds under 5 U.S.C. 552a(g)(4) that Board personnel acted intentionally or wilfully in violating the Privacy Act.
(7) Issuance of certificates and decisions authorizing Consolidated Rail Corporation to abandon or discontinue service over lines for which an application under section 308 of the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973 has been filed.
(8) Designation in writing of employees authorized to inspect and copy records and to inspect and examine lands, buildings, and equipment pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 11144, 14122, and 15722.
(b) The following matters are referred to the Vice Chairman of the Board:
(1) Matters within the jurisdiction of the Accounting Board if certified to the Vice Chairman by the Accounting Board or if removed from the Accounting Board by the Vice Chairman.
(2) Matters involving the admission, disbarment, or discipline of practitioners before the Board under 49 CFR part 1103.
(c) The Chairman, Vice Chairman, or other Board Member to whom a matter is assigned under this part may certify such matter to the Board.
(d) The Chairman shall notify all Board Members that a petition for a stay has been referred to the Chairman for disposition under paragraphs (a)(2) or (3) of this section. The Chairman shall also inform all Board Members of the decision on that petition before service of such decision. At the request of a Board Member, made at any time before the Chairman's decision is served, the petition will be referred to the Board for decision.
This section covers matters assigned to the Accounting Board, a board of employees of the Board.
(a) The Accounting Board has authority:
(1) To permit departure from general rules prescribing uniform systems of accounts for carriers and other persons under the Interstate Commerce Act, and from the regulations governing accounting and reporting forms;
(2) To prescribe rates of depreciation to be used by railroad and water carriers;
(3) To issue special authorizations permitted by the regulations governing the destruction of records of carriers subject to the Interstate Commerce Act; and
(4) To grant extensions of time for filing annual, periodic, and special reports in matters that do not involve taking testimony at a public hearing or the submission of evidence by opposing parties in the form of affidavits.
(b) The board may certify any matter assigned to it to the Board.
(a)(1) This section provides for delegations of authority by the Chairman of the Surface Transportation Board to individual Board employees.
(2) The Chairman of the Board may remove for disposition any matter delegated under this section, and any matter delegated under this section may be referred by the Board employee to the Chairman for disposition.
(b) The Board will decide appeals from decisions of employees acting under authority delegated under this section. Appeals must be filed within 10 days after the date of the employee's action, and replies must be filed within 10 days after the due date for appeals. Appeals are not favored and will be granted only in exceptional circumstances to correct a clear error of judgment or to prevent manifest injustice.
(c)(1) As used in this paragraph, procedural matter includes, but is not limited to, the assignment of the time and place for hearing; the assignment of proceedings to administrative law judges; the issuance of decisions directing special hearing procedures; the establishment of dates for filing statements in cases assigned for hearing under modified (non-oral hearing) procedure; the consolidation of proceedings for hearing or disposition; the postponement of hearings and procedural dates; the waiver of formal specifications for pleadings; and extensions of time for filing pleadings. It does not include interlocutory appeals from the rulings of hearing officers; nor does it include postponement of the effective date of:
(i) Decisions pending judicial review,
(ii) Decisions of the entire Board,
(iii) Cease and desist orders, or
(iv) Final decisions where petitions for discretionary review have been filed under 49 CFR 1115.3.
(2) Unless otherwise ordered by the Board in individual proceedings, authority to dispose of procedural matters is delegated to administrative law judges or Board Members in proceedings assigned to them.
(3) Unless otherwise ordered by the Board in individual proceedings, authority to dispose of routine procedural matters in proceedings assigned for handling under modified procedure, other than those assigned to an administrative law judge or a Board Member, is assigned to the Secretary of the Board. The Secretary shall also have authority, unless otherwise ordered by the Chairman or by a majority of the Board in individual proceedings, to decide whether complaint proceedings shall be handled under the modified procedure or be assigned for oral hearings. In carrying out these duties, the Secretary shall consult, as necessary, with the General Counsel and the Director of any Board office to which an individual proceeding has been assigned.
(d) Except as provided at 49 CFR 1113.3(b)(1), authority to dismiss a complaint on complainant's request, or an application on applicant's request, is delegated to the Secretary.
(e) Authority to grant or deny access to waybills and to statistics reported under orders of the Board is delegated to the Director of the Office of Economics, Environmental Analysis, and Administration.
(f) Certain accounts in the Uniform Systems of Accounts, 49 CFR parts 1200 through 1207, require Board approval to use. Authority to grant or deny requests for use of these accounts is delegated to the Director and Associate Director of the Office of Economics, Environmental Analysis, and Administration and the Chief of the Section of Economics.
(g) The Secretary of the Board is delegated authority, under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq., to:
(1) Sign and transmit to the Small Business Administration certifications of no significant economic effect for proposed rules, that if adopted by the Board, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities; and
(2) Sign and transmit findings regarding waiver or delay of an initial regulatory flexibility analysis or delay of a final regulatory flexibility analysis.
(h) Issuance of certificates and decisions authorizing Consolidated Rail Corporation to abandon or discontinue service over lines for which an application under section 308 of the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973 has been filed is delegated to the Director of the Office of Proceedings.
(a) The Secretary. The Secretary of the Board is delegated the following authority:
(1) Whether (in consultation with involved Offices) to waive filing fees set forth at 49 CFR 1002.2(f).
(2) To issue, on written request, informal opinions and interpretations Start Printed Page 60170(exclusive of informal opinions and interpretations on carrier tariff provisions), which are not binding on the Board. In issuing informal opinions or interpretations, the Secretary shall consult with the Director of the appropriate Board office. Such requests must be directed to the Secretary, Surface Transportation Board, Washington, DC 20423. Authority to issue informal opinions and interpretations on carrier tariff provisions is delegated at paragraph (c)(2) of this section to the Office of Compliance and Enforcement.
(b) Office of Proceedings. In addition to the authority delegated at 49 CFR 1011.6(h), the Director of the Office of Proceedings shall have authority initially to determine the following:
(1) Whether to designate abandonment proceedings for oral hearings on request.
(2) Whether offers of financial assistance satisfy the statutory standards of 49 U.S.C. 10904(d) for purposes of negotiations or, in exemption proceedings, for purposes of partial revocation and negotiations.
(i) To impose, modify, or remove environmental or historic preservation conditions; and
(4) In abandonment proceedings, when a request for interim trail use/rail banking is filed under 49 CFR 1152.29, to determine whether the National Trails System Act, 16 U.S.C. 1247(d), is applicable and, where appropriate, to issue Certificates of Interim Trail Use or Abandonment (in application proceedings) or Notices of Interim Trail Use or Abandonment (in exemption proceedings).
(5) In any abandonment proceeding where interim trail use/rail banking is an issue, to make such findings and issue decisions as may be necessary for the orderly administration of the National Trails System Act, 16 U.S.C. 1247(d).
(6) Whether to institute requested declaratory order proceedings under 5 U.S.C. 554(e).
(7) To issue decisions, after 60 days' notice by any person discontinuing a subsidy established under 49 U.S.C. 10904 and at the railroad's request:
(i) In application proceedings, immediately issuing decisions authorizing abandonment or discontinuance; and
(ii) In exemption proceedings, immediately vacating the decision that postponed the effective date of the exemption.
(ii) Whether to grant waivers from specific provisions of 49 CFR part 1151.
(9) In exemption proceedings subject to environmental or historic preservation reporting requirements, to issue a decision, under 49 CFR 1105.10(g), making a finding of no significant impact where no environmental or historic preservation issues have been raised by any party or identified by the Board's Section of Environmental Analysis.
(10) Whether to issue notices of exemption under 49 U.S.C. 10502:
(12) Whether to issue a notice of exemption under 49 U.S.C. 13541 for a transaction under 49 U.S.C. 14303 within a motor passenger carrier corporate family that does not result in adverse changes in service levels, significant operational changes, or a change in the competitive balance with motor passenger carriers outside the corporate family.
(13) Whether to issue rail modified certificates of public convenience and necessity under 49 CFR part 1150, subpart C.
(14) Whether to waive the regulations at 49 CFR part 1152, subpart C, on appropriate petition.
(15) To reject applications, petitions for exemption, and verified notices (filed in class exemption proceedings) for noncompliance with the environmental rules at 49 CFR part 1105.
(16) To reject applications by The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company to abandon rail lines in North Dakota exceeding the 350-mile cap of section 402 of Public Law 97-102, 95 Stat. 1465 (1981), as amended by The Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1992, Public Law 102-143, section 343 (Oct. 28, 1991).
(c) Office of Compliance and Enforcement. The Office of Compliance and Enforcement is delegated the authority to:
(1) Reject tariffs and railroad transportation contract summaries filed with the Board that violate applicable statutes, rules, or regulations. Any rejection of a tariff or contract summary may be by letter signed by or for the Director, Office of Compliance and Enforcement, or the Chief, Section of Tariffs, Office of Compliance and Enforcement.
(2) Issue, on written request, informal opinions and interpretations on carrier tariff provisions, which are not binding on the Board.
(3) Grant or withhold special tariff authority granting relief from the provisions of 49 CFR part 1312. Any grant or withholding of such relief may be by letter signed by or for the Director, Office of Compliance and Enforcement, or the Chief, Section of Tariffs, Office of Compliance and Enforcement.
(4) Resolve any disputes that may arise concerning the applicability of motor common carrier rates under 49 U.S.C. 13710(a)(2).
[FR Doc. 02-24215 Filed 9-24-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4915-00-P