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The U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) is seeking public comment on its proposal to revoke existing class exemptions from railroad regulations for certain commodities, the board announced yesterday.The decision, dated March 23, is part of the board's ongoing examination of its current regulations in light of rail industry changes that have occurred in recent decades, STB officials said in a press release.In the nearly quarter century since the board adopted the exemptions, the proposal would be the first to completely revoke one or more commodity exemptions, they said.Specifically, the board wants input on its proposal to revoke exemptions for crushed or broken stone or rip rap (a type of loose stone used to maintain surface stability); hydraulic cement; coke produced from coal, primary iron or steel products; and iron or steel scrap, wastes, or tailings.The STB's proposal was prompted by factors that suggest the transportation markets for those commodities have changed "in ways that point toward an increased likelihood of railroad market power," the press release states.The board also invites interested parties to file comments on the possible revocation of other commodity class exemptions.
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