WASHINGTON (November 19, 2020) – Members of the Rail Customer Coalition (RCC) commend the U.S. Senate for confirming Robert Primus and Michelle Schultz to fill the two remaining vacancies on the Surface Transportation Board (STB).

In July, the RCC sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation urging the confirmation of the nominees. This is the first time the STB has been fully staffed since the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015 expanded its membership from three to five commissioners. Following this strong bipartisan action by the Senate, the STB should move without further delay to adopt commonsense reforms that promote competition and streamline overly bureaucratic procedures.

The RCC represents the largest customers of freight rail, including manufacturers, farmers, and energy providers. Coalition members account for more than half of the total volume of cargo shipped by rail and generate more than three-quarters of the revenue collected by America’s Class I railroads, which is why a functioning and proactive STB is so essential to its members.

The following RCC member organizations issued statements regarding today’s important vote:

Chris Jahn, President & CEO, American Chemistry Council:

“We applaud Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer and the entire Senate for working together to confirm Mr. Primus and Ms. Schultz to the Surface Transportation Board. They bring a wealth of experience to the Board when it comes to tackling complex transportation and policy issues, which will serve them well as the STB looks to modernize the nation’s freight policies. With the addition of Primus and Schultz, the Board is in a strong position to enact much needed reforms and fulfill its Congressional mandate to promote a competitive and reliable freight rail system.”

Heidi Brock, President & CEO, American Forest & Paper Association:

“The U.S. Senate confirmation of Michelle Schultz and Robert Primus to the Surface Transportation Board now brings the board to its full complement. We recommend the board advance long-overdue freight rail policy reforms. The paper and wood products industry is eager to work with the board to revoke the outdated commodity exemption policy and ensure our companies have an avenue to address harmful service and pricing issues. Such reforms support our industry’s ability to move millions of tons of materials to production mills and final markets.”

Scott Heisel, VP & Technical Director, American Malting Barley Association:

“The American Malting Barley Association would like to express its appreciation to the U.S. Senate for confirming Ms. Michelle Schultz and Mr. Robert Primus to the Surface Transportation Board. The barley supply chain depends on safe, efficient, and reliable freight rail system. A fully staffed STB, and the experience these individuals bring, will enhance the reform and modernization efforts envisioned when Congress passed the STB Reauthorization Act of 2015.”

Zippy Duvall, President, American Farm Bureau Federation:

“Farmers and ranchers rely upon freight rail to move American-grown products from all regions of the country to markets at home and abroad, as well as to provide critical farm supplies to help plant, tend and harvest crops. Ensuring we have a functioning and fully staffed STB is critical for the agency to carry out its charge to protect the interests of farmers, rural businesses and railroads. We applaud the Senate for their action to confirm Robert Primus and Michelle Schultz.”

Chet Thompson, President & CEO, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers:

”We commend the Senate for its work to confirm Mr. Robert Primus and Ms. Michelle Schultz to the Surface Transportation Board, a key independent federal agency charged with monitoring the economic health and efficiency of our surface transportation system. These confirmations will bring an even deeper wealth of experience to an already accomplished Board and provide a full complement of board members to implement STB’s mission as it continues to tackle critical surface transportation issues. A healthy and efficient freight rail system benefits all stakeholders, and we look forward to STB’s continued efforts to modernize freight rail policy and fulfill the agency’s Congressional mandate to promote a fair, reliable, and competitive freight rail system.”

Robin Rorick, VP of Midstream and Industry Operations, American Petroleum Institute:

API applauds the Senate’s bipartisan vote to fill the two vacancies on the Surface Transportation Board, and we congratulate Mr. Primus and Ms. Schultz on their appointments. Rail transportation is integral to providing American families and businesses with the reliable, affordable and cleaner energy they use every day, and we’re hopeful the fully-staffed STB will be able to enact needed reforms on our country’s rail system to enhance its performance and the relationships with the communities it serves.”

Tom Madrecki, VP of Supply Chain and Logistics, Consumer Brands Association:

“The Consumer Brands Association and its members congratulate Robert Primus and Michelle Schultz on their confirmation to the Surface Transportation Board. The Senate’s action to fill the last remaining STB vacancies are an important step in enhancing intermodal transportation and freight rail performance during a time of unprecedented supply chain demand across the consumer packaged goods industry.”

John Bode, President & CEO, Corn Refiners Association:

“CRA and its members congratulate Mr. Robert Primus and Ms. Michelle Schultz for their confirmation by the Senate as members of the Surface Transportation Board. We also thank the Administration, as well as Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, and the Senate for their work to fill these positions. CRA members are highly dependent upon reliable and economic rail transportation for their products, and we look forward to working with Mr. Primus and Ms. Schultz, along with the rest of the STB, on the reforms needed to ensure a reliable and efficient rail system.”

Shelley Sahling-Zart, President, Freight Rail Customer Alliance:

“The Freight Rail Customer Alliance (FRCA) congratulates Michelle Schultz and Robert Primus on being confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as Members of the Surface Transportation Board. We sincerely thank the White House, Senate Commerce Committee and the full Senate for seeing these two nominations through the process. As allowed for in the STB Reauthorization Act of 2015, the Board will have five Members resulting in enhanced efficiency and transparency for the Board benefiting all stakeholders – including shippers and rail carriers, and the communities we both serve.”

Steve DeHaan, President & CEO, International Warehouse Logistics Association:

“The International Warehouse Logistics Association thanks the Senate for confirming Michelle Schultz and Robert Primus to the Surface Transportation Board. With the Board now at full strength, we look forward to resolution of many of the challenges facing rail shippers. The US economy is dependent on a strong rail freight network, but it’s time to get the pendulum to swing back and give the shippers a break from unreasonable demurrage charges and rates.”

Eric Byer, President & CEO, National Association of Chemical Distributors:

“Having a fully staffed U.S. Surface Transportation Board is of paramount importance for chemical distributors. The STB makes critical decisions for rail customers that impact their daily operations and their bottom lines. The confirmation of Robert Primus and Michelle Schultz will go a long way in reaffirming the STB as the authority on rail issues, particularly as it relates to demurrage charges and rail service matters important to the chemical industry. We thank the Senate for confirming Primus and Schultz and look forward to working with them to ensure the Board can more effectively carry out its charge to protect the interests of rail customers and railroads.”

Jennifer Hedrick, Executive Director, National Industrial Transportation League:

The National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) and its members congratulate Michelle Schultz and Robert Primus on their confirmation to the Surface Transportation Board. Having a fully staffed STB is long overdue, and their addition will allow the Board to increase its focus on issues that affect freight rail users, including access to reliable and competitive rail service.”

Dan Elliott, Legal Counsel, Private Railcar Food and Beverage Association:

“The Private Railcar Food and Beverage and its member companies strongly support the Senate’s vote to confirm Robert Primus and Michelle Schultz to become members of the Surface Transportation Board.  As a former member of the Board and now counsel to PRFBA, I sincerely believe these individuals will be an exceptional addition to the STB.”

Philip K. Bell, President, Steel Manufacturers Association:

“SMA is pleased to see the U.S. Senate confirm Mr. Primus and Ms. Schulz to the Surface Transportation Board. These appointments will complete the staffing of the Board, and allow for its continuing efforts to implement good transportation policies for the American railroad system. Our members look forward to a more reliable and competitive freight rail system through the leadership of this Agency.”