Last week the Surface Transportation Board (STB) proposed new regulations regarding competitive switching on railroads, which if adopted would give shippers who are served by only one major railroad the option to seek competing bids for access to a second Class I railroad nearby without facing hefty fees.Railroads play an important role in moving soy products in the U.S.The Proposed Rule responds to a petition for rulemaking submitted by the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) in July of 2011. The STB initiated a proceeding (EP-711) to consider NITL’s proposal, and received public comments. In March 2014, the STB held a two-day public hearing to receive live testimony from stakeholders. The STB is now granting, in-part, the NITL’s petition for new regulations and setting out proposed regulations for comments, which are due on September 26th. The American Soybean Association (ASA) will be working with agricultural industry partners to analyze the Proposed Rule and potentially submit joint comments.In addition to the Proposed Rule on competitive switching, the STB is working on separate action to expedite consideration of rail rate dispute cases and implementation of the STB reform and reauthorization bill enacted by Congress.This week, the Senate Commerce Committee is holding a field hearing on rail shipper issues in Sioux Falls, S.D. that will focus on implementation of the STB reform and reauthorization bill. STB Board Members Dan Elliot and Deb Miller and a representative of CHS, on behalf of The Fertilizer Institute, will testify at the hearing.