Earlier this year, Klobuchar and Franken sent a letter to the chairman of the Surface Transportation Board in support of a petition from the Western Coal Traffic League to require BNSF to provide a coal service recovery plan to help ensure utilities receive timely shipments of coal
WASHINGTON, DC – After a push from U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) will require BNSF Railway Company to submit a detailed plan outlining how it will help mitigate future coal shortages. Earlier this year, Klobuchar and Franken sent a letter to the chairman of the STB in support of a petition from the Western Coal Traffic League to require BNSF to provide a coal service recovery plan to help ensure utilities receive timely shipments of coal.
“With winter weather bearing down on Minnesota, rail companies like BNSF need to have plans in place to ensure that utilities have enough coal to heat homes and businesses and prevent prices from skyrocketing for consumers,” Klobuchar said. “I’m pleased that the STB responded to our calls for action, and I’ll keep pushing to address future shortages and protect families in Minnesota and across the country.”
"Disruptions in rail service caused rising prices and subpar service across Minnesota," Franken said. "I'm glad that we've seen action taken to direct BNSF to report how they would respond to dangerously low coal supplies at power plants that they serve. I’ll continue working hard to monitor rail service in Minnesota, and push for stronger action from the STB if the situation worsens again."
The full text the senators’ original letter to the STB is below:
Dear Chairman Elliott:
Electric utilities in Minnesota remain deeply concerned that the lack of reliable rail service is leading to dangerously low levels of coal stockpiles to make it through the long Minnesota winter.
In a letter sent to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) on October 13, 2014, Governor Dayton joined us in requesting that the STB require railroad carriers to submit publicly-available coal service plans to help ensure utilities are receiving timely and predictable shipments of coal.
We support the Western Coal Traffic League’s (WCTL) petition to the STB last week requiring BNSF to file a coal-specific service recovery plan addressing coal shortages affecting many of its customers. The STB subsequently directed BNSF to reply to the WCTL petition by November 3, 2014. With winter quickly approaching, we urge the STB to swiftly approve and enforce a service plan that would ensure delivery of adequate coal supplies needed to heat homes and businesses.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. I look forward to working with you to help ensure electric utilities in Minnesota have access to adequate rail service.