Railroads

News & Analysis as of

Third Circuit Finds that the Federal Railroad Safety Act's Anti-Retaliation Provision Does Not Cover Employees Treated for...

In a case of first impression with far-reaching implications for the railroad industry, the Third Circuit has held that the provision of the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) prohibiting discipline of employees for...more

Legal Minute: Cybersecurity Reporting Requirements for Government Contractors [Video]

Government Contracts Partner Mary Beth Bosco explains the new cyber breach reporting requirements for defense contractors based on the recent passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015. The NDAA...more

OSHA Hands Down Record Award Under Federal Railroad Safety Act

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) gave a MTA Metro-North railroad employee a record award under the Federal Railroad Safety Act after they suffered an injury in 2011. The $250,000 in punitive damages...more

State Regulators Are On Track To Improve Oil Train Safety

Our November 13 post noted that most of the crude oil from the Bakken Formation in North Dakota is shipped to ports and refineries throughout the United States by rail, typically in unit trains with one hundred cars or more....more

Falling Oil Prices Ignite Concern Over Bakken Crude

Happy Days Are Here Again? Gasoline prices have been falling steadily for months. Now a gallon may be purchased for substantially less than three dollars in many regions of the country. ...more

Crude-by-Rail Update: Municipalities in the Bakken Push Back Against Increasing Train Traffic

Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, towns in the western United States grew and thrived around the railroad. In fact, the railroad tracks often became a central geographic feature within towns, birthing the...more

California Supreme Court Poised To Decide Key CEQA Questions: The Court’s Lineup For 2015

The California Supreme Court’s involvement in CEQA cases has been relatively limited since he statute’s enactment in 1970, with the court taking  review of at most one or two appellate court decisions a year.  The last two...more

Tennessee Tax Year in Review

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP’s State and Local Tax Team would like to share our year-end review—revisiting some interesting Tennessee tax developments for 2014 and announcing our annual “Tennessee Tax Issue of the Year.”...more

“Making CEQA A Federal Case? Recent Actions of California’s Supreme Court and the Federal Surface Transportation Board Set Up A...

Controversy has dogged the California high speed rail project since before its inception with the 2008 passage of Proposition 1A, the bond measure providing the project’s initial funding. The controversy has not abated in the...more

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments in 4-R Act Case (For the Second Time)

On December 9, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the last of three state and local tax cases that it accepted this term – Alabama Department of Revenue v. CSX Transportation, Inc. (CSX II), a case that had...more

Justices Probe Limits of Non-Delegation Doctrine and Express Due Process Concerns

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Dep't of Transp. v. Ass'n of Am. Railroads. At issue is whether Congress may grant Amtrak, a private entity created by Congress, the power to co-author regulations...more

New State Oil-By-Rail Regulations Take Effect, While Rail Capacity Is Squeezed

As we reported earlier, consideration of proposed federal rulemaking concerning crude oil-by-rail transportation recommended by the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration is...more

Must Calif. Dump Its Oil Spill Prevention Regime?

On Oct. 7, 2014, the Association of American Railroads and two of its member rail carriers filed suit against California's Office of Spill Prevention and Response in an effort to strike down the state's recent effort to...more

Supreme Court to Address Important Business Regulation Question Next Month in Department of Transportation v. Association of...

Next month, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Dep't of Transp. v. Ass'n of Am. Railroads, a case that may have major ramifications for businesses operating in the United States. This case concerns the limits...more

Federal Preemption May Be The Key For Calif. Railroads

Railroad operators across the U.S. are seeing a bright future due to the resurgence in freight rail traffic. Intermodal (i.e., cargo container) shipping is booming. In 2013, intermodal volume on the major railroads totaled...more

Bakken Crude-by-Rail Update: Transloading Projects Dealt a Setback in California

Recently, we covered environmental groups’ increasing array of state-law challenges to midstream and end users of Bakken crude that transport or receive oil by rail. Since then, a California regulator has admitted to...more

Railroad Commission Chairwoman: “It’s My Job to Give Permits, Not Denton’s”

At a November 6 event, Texas Railroad Commission Chairwoman Christi Craddick unequivocally stated that the Commission would continue to issue drilling permits to operators in Denton, despite the November 4 vote making it the...more

Texas Railroad Commission Adopts Rules for Disposal Wells in Potential High-Risk Seismic Areas

On Tuesday, October 28, 2014, the Texas Railroad Commission unanimously adopted amendments to rules concerning disposal wells in areas that have experienced or are likely to experience seismic activity. As covered by the...more

Environmental Groups Seek to Derail Bakersfield Crude-by-Rail Project

A coalition of environmental groups has filed a lawsuit challenging Kern County’s approval of the first substantial oil-by-rail expansion project at a California refinery, alleging that the comprehensive Environmental Impact...more

District Judge Allows Rail Union to Side Step Rule 23 with Pattern-Or-Practice Claim

A federal district judge in Hammond, Indiana, has permitted a rail union to pursue injunctive remedies in a Title VII pattern-or-practice discrimination claim on behalf of its black members without compliance with Rule 23. In...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - October 2014 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus - Obama to designate portion of San Gabriel Mountains a national monument: Los Angeles Times - Oct 8: President Obama plans to announce Friday that he will set aside roughly half of the...more

Railroad Companies Allege Federal Law Governing Petroleum Transport Preempts SB 861

Railroad transportation of raw petroleum, often referred to as “crude-by-rail,” has received increasing media attention in recent months, due to health and environmental concerns. California took a stab at legislating rail...more

First District Holds CEQA’s Application To Public Agency’s Approval of Railroad Operations Is Preempted By Federal Law Despite...

The North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA), a public agency established by state law, contracted with Northwestern Pacific Railroad Company (NWPRC) to allow NWPRC to conduct freight services on tracks controlled by NCRA....more

Environmental Groups Ramp-up the Crude-by-Rail Fight in the Courtroom

Bakken crude producers and midstream transportation companies already experience transportation woes related to inadequate pipeline infrastructure, railroad capacity, tank car supply, rail accidents, and new regulations. But...more

CEQA Alert: CEQA Does Not Apply to Approval of Proposed Railroad Operations – Express Preemption by ICCTA

California’s First Appellate District has held that federal law preempts CEQA’s application to the approval of proposed railroad operations. Although this was an issue of first impression for a California appellate court,...more

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