Attorney Leonard M. Singer, Boston, MA  (617) 737-7670  (www.LeonardMSinger.com)

Excerpt from:

49 CFR §1152.25. Participation in Abandonment or Discontinuance proceedings.

(a) Public participation—

(1) Protests and comments. Interested persons may become parties to an abandonment or discontinuance proceeding by filing written comments or protests with the Board. Any request for a public use condition under 49 U.S.C. 10905 (Sec. 1152.28 of the Board's rules) and any request for a trail use condition under 16 U.S.C. 1247(d) (Sec. 1152.29 of the Board's rules) must be included in these filings. Persons who may oppose the abandonment or discontinuance, but who do not wish to participate fully in the process by appearing at any oral hearings or by submitting verified statements of witnesses containing detailed evidence, should file comments. Persons interested only in seeking public use or trail use conditions should also file comments. Persons opposing the proposed abandonment or discontinuance that do wish to participate actively and fully in the process should file a protest. Protests shall include all evidence and argument in support of protestant's position (protestant's case in chief). Protests must contain the following information:

(i) Protestant's name, address and business.

(ii) A statement describing protestant's interest in the proceeding including:

(A) A description of protestant's use of the line;

(B) If protestant does not use the line, information concerning the group or public interest it represents; and

(C) If protestant's interest is limited to the retention of service over a portion of the line, a description of the portion of the line subject to protestant's interest (with milepost designations if available) and evidence showing that the applicant can operate the portion of the line profitably, including an appropriate return on its investment for those operations.

(iii) Specific reasons why protestant opposes the application including information regarding protestant's reliance on the involved service (this information must be supported by affidavits of persons with personal knowledge of the fact(s)).

(iv) Any rebuttal of material submitted by applicant.

(v) Any request for a public use condition under 49 U.S.C. 10905 (Sec. 1152.28 of the Board's rules) and any request for a trail use condition under 16 U.S.C. 1247(d) (Sec. 1152.29 of the Board's rules).

(2) Additional information. In addition to the information required in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, a commenting party or protestant may provide a statement of position and a summary of evidence regarding:

(i) Intent to offer financial assistance under 49 U.S.C. 10904;

(ii) Environmental impact;

(iii) Impact on rural and community development;

(iv) Recommended provisions for protection of the interests of employees;

(v) A request for a public use condition under 49 U.S.C. 10905; and

(vi) Prospective use of the right-of-way for interim trail use and rail banking under 16 U.S.C. 1247(d) and 49 CFR 1152.29.

(3) Feeder line application for all or part of the line subject to the abandonment application. In addition to the information required in paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) of this section, a commenting party or protestant must provide information that:

(i) The protestant filed a feeder line application under 49 U.S.C.10907 (or former 49 U.S.C. 10910);

(ii) The feeder line application involves any portion of the rail line involved in the abandonment or discontinuance application;

(iii) The feeder line application was filed prior to the date disabandonment or discontinuance application was filed; and

(iv) The feeder line application is pending before the Board.

(b) Employee or employee representative participation. Employees or their representatives may file protests or comments to an application. However, because the Board will impose employee protective conditions under 49 U.S.C. 10903(b)(2) if an application is granted, employees and their representatives need not file comments or protests seeking this protection.

(c) Filing and service of written comments, protests, along with evidence and argument, and replies.

(1) Written comments and protests, as well as public use and trail use requests, shall be filed with the Board (the Secretary, Surface Transportation Board, Washington, DC 20423) within 45 days of the filing with the Board of an abandonment or discontinuance application.

(2) An original and 10 copies of each written comment or protest shall be filed with the Board.

(3) A copy of each written comment or protest shall be served on applicant or its representative at the time of filing with the Board. If the applicant carrier is in bankruptcy, each comment or protest shall also be filed on the Bankruptcy Court. Each filing shall contain a certificate of service.

(4) Replies or rebuttal to written comments and protests shall be filed and served by applicants no later than 60 days after the filing of the application. An original and 10 copies of such replies shall be filed with the Board.