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Public Statements

Transportation, Housing And Urban Development, And Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - July 24, 2007)

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Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the gentleman from Massachusetts, the chairman of the subcommittee, for this colloquy.

Mr. Chairman, in New Jersey, and all over the country, certain waste handlers and railroad companies have tried to exploit a supposed loophole in Federal law in order to set up unregulated waste transfer facilities.

Under the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995, the Surface Transportation Board, or STB, has exclusive jurisdiction over transportation by rail carriers and the ability to grant Federal preemption over other laws at any level, local, State or Federal, that might impede such transportation. But Congress intended such authority to extend only to transportation by rail, not to the operation of facilities that are merely sited next to rail operations or have a business connection to a rail company.

Unfortunately, certain companies have exploited this loophole to build or plan waste transfer stations next to rail lines and avoid any regulation from State or local authorities.

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the Senate's efforts to close this loophole. They have passed an amendment in their version of the fiscal year 2008 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill, and I wanted to thank your subcommittee for recognizing this important issue in this bill's report language.

I had intended to offer an amendment, which I will not offer at this time, that would take the STB out of the waste management business by ensuring that funding for any decisions relating to waste transfer stations be eliminated. Again, you have dealt with this in the bill's report language, so it is not necessary to move this amendment at this time. But it is important that States and local municipalities have some say in this process.

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